The Plunge Protection Plan has been in high gear this week, (that is the use of taxpayer money to prop up the markets for Trump’s political purposes.) It has been pretty active for the last four years but yesterday and today, blatant. Investors need to ask themselves what happens to that support on the occasion of a trumped Trump. Yes, when he loses will he continue to use taxpayer money to prop up the market?
See video below.
I am releasing a short version of a video done with Robert Reich, a friend and great liberal thinker.
We are unable to release the full video on social media as there is quite some censorship prior to the election. We hope to release the whole after Joe Biden’s win.
Click the video below and share widely. Thank you!
Parents of 545 Children Separated at the Border Cannot Be Found
A new report shows hundreds of cases in which migrant children were taken from their families, and their parents, who were deported, cannot be located.
Radio spots are airing throughout Mexico and Central America. Court-appointed researchers are motorbiking through rural hillside communities in Guatemala and showing up at courthouses in Honduras to conduct public record searches.
Their efforts are part of a wide-ranging campaign to track down parents separated from their children at the U.S. border beginning in 2017 under the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration policy. It is now clear that the parents of 545 of the migrant children still have not been found, according to court documents filed this week in a case challenging the practice.
About 60 of the children were under the age of 5 when they were separated, the documents show.
Though attempts to find the separated parents have been going on for years, the number of parents who have been deemed “unreachable” is much larger than was previously known.
Under court order, the government first provided an accounting of separated families in June of 2018, reporting that about 2,700 children had been taken from their parents after crossing into the United States. After months of searching by a court-appointed steering committee, which includes a private law firm and several immigrant advocacy organizations, all of those families were eventually tracked down and offered the opportunity to be reunited.
But in January 2019, a report by the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed that many more children had been separated, including under a previously undisclosed pilot program conducted in El Paso between June and November 2017, before the administration’s widely publicized “zero tolerance” policy officially went into effect.
Under that policy, the Trump administration directed prosecutors to file criminal charges against those who crossed the border without authorization, including parents, who were then separated from their children when they were taken into custody. Some parents who crossed the border at legal ports of entry were also among those separated from their children.
The Trump administration fought for months against providing documentation on the additional families, arguing that it was not necessary because the children had already been released from federal custody into the care of sponsors, who are typically relatives or family friends. The parents of the children had already been deported without them.
But in June 2019, under court order, the government eventually acknowledged that an additional 1,556 children had been separated from their families; 200 of them were under 5 years of age at the time they were taken into custody.
When that information came out, the search efforts started again, but were made significantly more difficult by the amount of time that had passed between when the children were released from federal custody and when volunteer researchers began trying to find them. The effort hit another roadblock with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, during which travel through the Central American countries where most of the families live has been severely restricted.
“The Trump administration had no plans to keep track of the families or ever reunite them and so that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in now, to try to account for each family,” said Nan Schivone, legal director of the organization Justice in Motion, which is leading on-the-ground search efforts for separated families.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is leading the court challenge to the family separation policy, said it had also been unable to find 362 of the children, many of whom are likely living in the United States, whose parents were deemed unreachable.
“The fact that they kept the names from the court, from us, from the public, was astounding,” said Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the A.C.L.U.’s case over family separations. “We could have been searching for them this whole time.”
The latest findings were first reported by NBC News.
In some cases, members of the steering committee have had only names and countries of origin to go on in trying to locate separated parents. Even after conducting public record searches to identify the cities where the families were from, they faced additional hurdles. Many of the families had fled their homes because they were escaping violence or extortion, and intentionally withheld information from friends and neighbors about where they were going.
Researchers are presuming that about two-thirds of the parents now being sought are back in their home countries.
As part of the legal case over family separations in the Federal District Court in San Diego, overseen by Judge Dana Sabraw, the search efforts will continue and the government will be required to provide information about any additional families that are separated at the border.
As of October 2019, the government had provided contact information for more than 1,100 additional parents who had been separated from their children, but argued that it would not disclose information about some 400 of the parents because those individuals had criminal records that prevented the United States government from reuniting them with their children under Homeland Security Department policies.
Of the more than 1,100, the steering committee has been able to locate the parents of 485 additional separated children. The rest have not been found.
by The Editorial Board
The New York Times
Across America people are waiting for food, sitting in their cars in endless lines that stretch down streets or bend back and forth across blacktop parking lots. The scenes are reminiscent of the Great Depression: Images from a grim past come suddenly to life.
The coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the nation’s economy in the spring and, because the virus continues to spread, millions of people remain out of work.
At first, the Trump administration worked with Congress to provide aid to Americans in need. The Cares Act included one-time payments to most households coupled with an expansion in unemployment insurance.
Then the stock market began to recover, and Mr. Trump lost interest. As the federal funds ran out, the number of Americans living in poverty has grown by eight million since May, according to recent research. That increase happened even as the job market improved, a troubling sign that the economy isn’t recovering fast enough to make up for the shrinking social safety net.
Job losses have been concentrated among low-wage workers, many of whom now need help to feed their families. The result: In the wealthiest nation on earth, hunger is on the rise, and overwhelmed food banks are struggling to help those whom the government has failed.
The Trump administration has worked to reduce the number of legal and illegal immigrants to the United States with a fanaticism and attention to detail that are notably absent from almost any other area of policymaking, save packing the courts with conservative judges.
The administration deliberately separated thousands of children from their parents to deter immigration. It cut the number of refugees admitted each year to the lowest level on record, denying sanctuary to thousands of people fleeing domestic and political violence. It has pursued the deportation of people brought to the country as small children, who have never known another country. It has prevented the immigration of scientists, engineers and other specialists whose talents might help to revitalize the American economy.
The president also is obsessed with building a wall along the Mexican border — an inane idea his advisers first suggested because they wanted him to talk about immigration, and they knew he liked to talk about building things. The wall became such a fixation for Mr. Trump that he shut down the federal government in late 2018 in an attempt to wring funding from Congress. When that failed, he sought funding by declaring a national emergency. And when that failed, too, he took money from the defense budget to build a little bit of a wall.
If America once shone as a beacon of hope to the world, Mr. Trump tried his best to extinguish it.
WOMEN’S RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK
There have been moments when it’s felt like the backlash to electing a man who’s been credibly accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women — and who has in fact bragged about assaulting women — has been so profound, so righteous, that it could be harnessed to overhaul society as we know it.
The raw fury of the Women’s March the day after President Trump’s inauguration and the flourishing of the #MeToo movement were promising. Some men were held accountable for their abuses. A record number of women ran for office, and many of them won. The Equal Rights Amendment lurched back to life.
Nearly four years on, it’s clear that the patriarchy, while jostled on its pedestal, stands tall. Some people think it unmanly to wear a mask during a deadly pandemic, for goodness sake.
More troubling: Roe v. Wade, which is already so hobbled, could soon be overturned or gutted, leading to the further criminalization of pregnant women.
Since Mr. Trump took office, more women have come forward with credible sexual assault allegations against him — including one that surfaced just last month. One of Mr. Trump’s legacies will be whatever damage has surely been done to the national psyche for these claims to be buried by so many other disturbing events.
BLACK LIVES AT RISK
Some of the most consequential moments of the Trump era thus far were the roughly eight minutes that a police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck, suffocating him to death.
Mr. Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer — an appallingly common occurrence for Black people in the United States — prompted one of the country’s largest social movements almost overnight. Millions of Americans, mostly masked to prevent coronavirus transmission, took to the streets in cities from coast to coast, outraged by police violence.
Adding to the righteous fury this year: the killing of Breonna Taylor in her home by the police— for which no officer has been charged.
Mr. Floyd and Ms. Taylor became some of the most recognizable victims of police violence in recent memory. But this year’s uprisings were a supercharged continuation of the Black Lives Matter movement, which had been growing since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Those who march do so not just for the names we know — but for all the names we don’t.
A PLANET IN PERIL
For anyone who cares about the health of the planet, the Trump years have been, to say the least, profoundly discouraging. Barely two months in office, Mr. Trump ordered his cabinet to review and remove any regulatory obstacles to the production of oil, gas and coal; shortly thereafter, he renounced America’s support of the landmark Paris climate agreement, thus shedding any claim to American leadership on a global crisis.
It was more or less downhill from there. He methodically decapitated Obama-era rules aimed at limiting emissions from power plants and oil and gas operations and mandating increases in fuel-efficient vehicles. He also opened public lands hitherto shielded from exploration to mining and drilling.
There were other assaults large and small on environmental protections, but the most damaging were those that undermined rules to diminish greenhouse gases while enabling the industries that produced them. All this despite the climate-related carnage in front of his own eyes, conspicuously the fires in California — and despite authoritative studies warning that failure to wrench emissions drastically downward over the next decade will bring irreversible damage.
Emissions in America, pre-Covid, declined slightly, thanks partly to the switch to cleaner fuels and the determined efforts of states and cites to do the job Mr. Trump won’t do. Globally, however, they’ve been rising, and the seas with them.
The economy over the next couple of years and its problems are resolvable as long as we resolve the pandemic. The key is going to be who’s advice Joe Biden takes. If it turns out to be the old line Clinton people like Robert Ruben and Larry Summers we will continue the economic disaster and the banks will continue to profit. I think Biden is a better man than that and the economic problems are totally resolvable providing we focus on the lower 70% of the asset holders and earners. I’m pleased that the Republicans in the Senate realize that Trump has lost his game – I think they may have lost their game as well. On that note I beseech you to vote and get all of your like-minded friends to vote and our nation and our economy and our people will have a chance.
Opinion by Greg Sargent
Columnist | Washington Post
As you’ve heard, Wolf Blitzer and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had a very contentious exchange on Tuesday, in which the CNN anchor demanded to know why the House Speaker was not prepared to support the White House’s offer of a $1.8 trillion stimulus package.
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Blitzer told Pelosi, thus seeming to suggest that the real holdup to any deal is Democratic opposition.
But new reporting from Bloomberg News strongly suggests another angle worth investigating, if the goal is to truly get to the bottom of what might end up holding up an agreement.
And this angle points to an even bigger story: how Republicans may already be laying the groundwork to try to destroy a Joe Biden presidency, should he win the election.
The short version: A Senate GOP strategist privately confided to Bloomberg that a key Republican goal right now is to lay the groundwork to revert hard to austerity, should Biden prevail, crippling the possibility of any serious stimulus efforts next year, even amid continued economic misery.
As of now, Senate Republicans are hostile to supporting a deal even if the White House and House Democrats can reach one. The White House’s $1.8 trillion offer includes some things Democrats want, such as $1,200 checks to individuals, but Pelosi wants more money for aid to states and a national strategy against the novel coronavirus, among other things.
Senate Republicans may not even accept spending levels that the White House is proposing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning a vote on a far smaller package — $500 billion for extended assistance for the unemployed and small businesses, among other things.
The Senate bill appears designed to do the minimum while giving vulnerable GOP senators a way to say they’re doing something at a moment of deep economic peril, in hopes of salvaging McConnell’s majority.
But Trump undermined that strategy by tweeting: “Go big or go home!” Now Senate Republicans risk getting split between the conservative impulse to spend as little as possible (at least on aid to distressed Americans) and Trump’s demand (for now, anyway) for more spending.
But, given that spending more now would likely boost Trump’s reelection chances, why aren’t Senate Republicans on board?
The Bloomberg report offers this remarkable clue:
“A GOP strategist who has been consulting with Senate campaigns said Republicans have been carefully laying the groundwork to restrain a Biden administration on federal spending and the budget deficit by talking up concerns about the price tag for another round of virus relief. The thinking, the strategist said, is that it would be very hard politically to agree on spending trillions more now and then in January suddenly embrace fiscal restraint.”
This is an anonymous source. But it accords with what all our intuitions and our understanding of recent U.S. political history tell us. Republicans almost certainly suspect Trump will lose even with a big stimulus and already hope to put an incoming President Joe Biden in a fiscal straitjacket, saddling him with the terrible politics of a grueling recovery.
A big package now under a GOP president would make that harder to get away with. That’s bad enough, but the evolving strategy here may be worse than this suggests. The calculation is probably not just about avoiding the hypocrisy of spending big now and embracing austerity under a Democratic president.
It’s also likely that a big package now would put the economy in a somewhat better position early next year, when Biden (should he win) would take over. This, too, is probably what Republicans want to avoid.
Indeed, as Eric Levitz points out, if Republicans can scuttle a robust package now, that would hand Biden a “deepening recession.” If Republicans hold the Senate and can block big stimulus measures at that point, Levitz continues, “Biden’s presidency would be over before it starts.”
And so, when McConnell chortled with glee at this week’s debate in Kentucky about the failure to pass more aid at a desperate national moment, it telegraphed what’s coming. And we’ve already lived through what happened when Republicans, led by McConnell, tried to cripple the recovery from a previous economic calamity that a Democratic president inherited from a Republican one.
Back then, McConnell calculated that if Republicans adopted a strategy of openly tailoring everything around the overarching goal of denying Barack Obama bipartisan support, Obama would take the blame for it. It’s likely McConnell is already thinking the same.
Obviously Republicans might theoretically oppose more spending to address a recession during a Biden presidency out of adherence to principle, however egregiously misguided. But notably, the GOP strategist above also telegraphs a strategy of constraining Biden by suddenly claiming to care deeply about deficits.
That’s particularly galling, given that Trump and the GOP passed a massive corporate tax giveaway that lavished enormous benefits on top earners while helping to explode the deficit. Now concern over that deficit will be used to try to cripple a Biden presidency through austerity.
Which leads to a final point. As I’ve noted, Trump campaigned in 2016 on a (fraudulent) promise to break with orthodox conservative economics, including opposition to big expenditures in the public interest, vowing to preserve safety nets and invest in job-creating infrastructure.
In many ways Trump tossed that vow aside and embraced GOP plutocracy. But now he’s suddenly desperate to secure another huge spending infusion, because he needs one to salvage his reelection hopes. So it would constitute a perverse form of poetic justice if a GOP refusal to go along — one rooted in a strategy of hamstringing a Democratic president from addressing deep national challenges — ends up contributing in some small way to Trump’s political demise.
The New England Journal of Medicine
Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.
The magnitude of this failure is astonishing. According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering,1 the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China. The death rate in this country is more than double that of Canada, exceeds that of Japan, a country with a vulnerable and elderly population, by a factor of almost 50, and even dwarfs the rates in lower-middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, by a factor of almost 2000. Covid-19 is an overwhelming challenge, and many factors contribute to its severity. But the one we can control is how we behave. And in the United States we have consistently behaved poorly.
We know that we could have done better. China, faced with the first outbreak, chose strict quarantine and isolation after an initial delay. These measures were severe but effective, essentially eliminating transmission at the point where the outbreak began and reducing the death rate to a reported 3 per million, as compared with more than 500 per million in the United States. Countries that had far more exchange with China, such as Singapore and South Korea, began intensive testing early, along with aggressive contact tracing and appropriate isolation, and have had relatively small outbreaks. And New Zealand has used these same measures, together with its geographic advantages, to come close to eliminating the disease, something that has allowed that country to limit the time of closure and to largely reopen society to a prepandemic level. In general, not only have many democracies done better than the United States, but they have also outperformed us by orders of magnitude.
Why has the United States handled this pandemic so badly? We have failed at almost every step. We had ample warning, but when the disease first arrived, we were incapable of testing effectively and couldn’t provide even the most basic personal protective equipment to health care workers and the general public. And we continue to be way behind the curve in testing. While the absolute numbers of tests have increased substantially, the more useful metric is the number of tests performed per infected person, a rate that puts us far down the international list, below such places as Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, countries that cannot boast the biomedical infrastructure or the manufacturing capacity that we have.2 Moreover, a lack of emphasis on developing capacity has meant that U.S. test results are often long delayed, rendering the results useless for disease control.
Although we tend to focus on technology, most of the interventions that have large effects are not complicated. The United States instituted quarantine and isolation measures late and inconsistently, often without any effort to enforce them, after the disease had spread substantially in many communities. Our rules on social distancing have in many places been lackadaisical at best, with loosening of restrictions long before adequate disease control had been achieved. And in much of the country, people simply don’t wear masks, largely because our leaders have stated outright that masks are political tools rather than effective infection control measures. The government has appropriately invested heavily in vaccine development, but its rhetoric has politicized the development process and led to growing public distrust.
The United States came into this crisis with enormous advantages. Along with tremendous manufacturing capacity, we have a biomedical research system that is the envy of the world. We have enormous expertise in public health, health policy, and basic biology and have consistently been able to turn that expertise into new therapies and preventive measures. And much of that national expertise resides in government institutions. Yet our leaders have largely chosen to ignore and even denigrate experts.
The response of our nation’s leaders has been consistently inadequate. The federal government has largely abandoned disease control to the states. Governors have varied in their responses, not so much by party as by competence. But whatever their competence, governors do not have the tools that Washington controls. Instead of using those tools, the federal government has undermined them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was the world’s leading disease response organization, has been eviscerated and has suffered dramatic testing and policy failures. The National Institutes of Health have played a key role in vaccine development but have been excluded from much crucial government decision making. And the Food and Drug Administration has been shamefully politicized,3 appearing to respond to pressure from the administration rather than scientific evidence. Our current leaders have undercut trust in science and in government,4 causing damage that will certainly outlast them. Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed “opinion leaders” and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.
Let’s be clear about the cost of not taking even simple measures. An outbreak that has disproportionately affected communities of color has exacerbated the tensions associated with inequality. Many of our children are missing school at critical times in their social and intellectual development. The hard work of health care professionals, who have put their lives on the line, has not been used wisely. Our current leadership takes pride in the economy, but while most of the world has opened up to some extent, the United States still suffers from disease rates that have prevented many businesses from reopening, with a resultant loss of hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of jobs. And more than 200,000 Americans have died. Some deaths from Covid-19 were unavoidable. But, although it is impossible to project the precise number of additional American lives lost because of weak and inappropriate government policies, it is at least in the tens of thousands in a pandemic that has already killed more Americans than any conflict since World War II.
Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment. Reasonable people will certainly disagree about the many political positions taken by candidates. But truth is neither liberal nor conservative. When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.
Your concerns about the Supreme Court are certainly valid. However, with a rational Democratic majority of both houses and a Biden presidency there are fair and reasonable solutions. Don’t be diverted in the battle over this narrow minded “Handmaiden”. Intelligent governance can neutralize this and all other inequalities. You have two important duties to focus on.
1) Vote and work to get all like-minded decent people to vote.
2) Begin to pressure your future representatives to dissolve the disgusting activities and rancor of the Trump buffoon.
3) Make sure President Biden, Vice President Harris and your national and local representatives know what you stand for.
I doubt it’s the old hacks. They paid a large role in the disastrous economy of today. Fight for good advisors who reflect your views and the country’s needs.
NO MORE NONSENSE.
As it never pays to give market advice let’s call this a stock market warning.
Donald Trump has expressed his glee as to the stock market performance during his tenure. His tenure is over! How goes the market?
Taxpayer money has been the principal support of these markets. Yes, your money and that of the less fortunate, who don’t own equities, is the genesis of the market strength.
Trump and Mnuchin have been relying on an executive action from 1988, instituted by President Reagan, to manipulate markets. It is called the Plunge Protection Plan.
If you believe, as I do, that Trump is dead meat, I suggest you heed this warning, at least to think through the probabilities and reasonableness of continuing stock advances after November 3rd – possible before. The Plunge Protection Plan will go quiet with Trump’s demise. He will have no need to pump markets for political purposes nor, as he has no stock portfolio, for personal gain. The manipulation will cease during his lame duck interval. It is unlikely the Plunge Protection Plan will be reinstated for market manipulation by the Biden administration.
If you believe in the markets for good reasons other than its activity ignore my warning. If not, forewarned – forearmed.
Tax records expose more than $21 million in highly unusual payments from the Las Vegas hotel Donald Trump owns with Phil Ruffin, routed through other Trump companies and paid out in cash.
Donald J. Trump needed money.
His “self-funded” presidential campaign was short on funds, and he was struggling to win over leery Republican donors. His golf courses and the hotel he would soon open in the Old Post Office in Washington were eating away at what cash he had left on hand, his tax records show.
And in early 2016, Deutsche Bank, the last big lender still doing business with him, unexpectedly turned down his request for a loan. The funds, Mr. Trump had told his bankers, would help shore up his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. Some bankers feared the money would instead be diverted to his campaign.
That January, Mr. Trump sold a lot of stock — $11.1 million worth. He sold another $11.8 million worth in February, and $7.5 million in March. In April, he sold $8.1 million more.
And the president’s long-hidden tax records, obtained by The New York Times, also reveal this: how he engineered a sudden financial windfall — more than $21 million in what experts describe as highly unusual one-off payments from the Las Vegas hotel he owns with his friend the casino mogul Phil Ruffin.
In previous articles on the tax records, The Times has reported that, in all but a few years since 2000, chronic business losses and aggressive accounting strategies have allowed Mr. Trump to largely avoid paying federal income taxes. And while the hundreds of millions of dollars earned from “The Apprentice” and his attendant celebrity rescued his business career, those riches, together with the marketing power of the Trump brand, were ebbing when he announced his 2016 presidential run.
The new findings, part of The Times’s continuing investigation, cast light on Mr. Trump’s financial maneuverings in that time of fiscal turmoil and unlikely political victory. Indeed, they may offer a hint to one of the enduring mysteries of his campaign: In its waning days, as his own giving had slowed to a trickle, Mr. Trump contributed $10 million, leaving many people wondering where the burst of cash had come from.
The tax records, by their nature, do not specify whether the more than $21 million in payments from the Trump-Ruffin hotel helped prop up Mr. Trump’s campaign, his businesses or both. But they do show how the cash flowed, in a chain of transactions, to several Trump-controlled companies and then directly to Mr. Trump himself.
The bulk of the money went through a company called Trump Las Vegas Sales and Marketing that had little previous income, no clear business purpose and no employees. The Trump-Ruffin joint venture wrote it all off as a business expense.
Experts in tax and campaign-finance law consulted by The Times said that while more information was needed to assess the legitimacy of the payments, they could be legally problematic.
“Why all of a sudden does this company have more than $20 million in fees that haven’t been there before?” said Daniel Shaviro, a professor of taxation at the New York University School of Law. “And all of this money is going to a man who just happens to be running for president and might not have a lot of cash on hand?”
Unless the payments were for actual business expenses, he said, claiming a tax deduction for them would be illegal. If they were not legitimate and were also used to fund Mr. Trump’s presidential run, they could be considered illegal campaign contributions.