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Professional Left Podcast #407

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Friday Night Soother

Friday Night Soother

by digby

Another fabulous Frida from Mexico:

One of Mexico’s most beloved rescuers wears wide protective goggles, a harness and two pairs of boots.

Frida is the star of the Mexican navy’s Canine Unit. Throughout her career, the 7-year-old Labrador has detected 52 people — 12 alive — in various natural disasters.

She detected the body of a police officer in Juchitan after an earthquake hit the state of Oaxaca two weeks ago.

Now her handlers in Mexico City are hoping she will find survivors of Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake, which killed more than 270 people in five states. The quake’s epicenter was in the state of Puebla, about 80 miles southeast of the capital.

Fifteen dogs have been deployed to search for people in Mexico City, but none have as many Twitter admirers as Frida. The navy tweeted a collage of photos of Frida last week, announcing her 52 rescues to the social media world. It got more than 4,000 retweets and nearly 7,000 likes. People called her a symbol of hope, a hero and offered to send her more boots to keep her paws safe. (She and the other rescue dogs have enough.)

The fate of earthquake victim 'Frida Sofia' captivated Mexico. But it seems she never existed
Here’s what some of her fans say:

“She should rest a little. She has worked a lot. God take care of you, your work is not easy.”

“Frida for president.”

“Now you know why they say that dogs are man’s best friend.”

Someone even suggested she replace the painter Diego Rivera on the 500-peso note:

When Frida’s story went viral this week, many people confused the exact details of her rescues, with some thinking that all 52 people were alive or that all 52 people were detected during the Mexico City earthquake.

Frida was dispatched Tuesday to the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school, where 11 children were found alive and 25 people, including 19 children, were found dead. Other emergency workers found them.

On Thursday afternoon, she napped in a break room with two Belgian Malinois colleagues, Evil and Echo. Frida’s handler, Israel Arauz Salinas, said she had suffered from exhaustion after searching the school Wednesday. But he said she was back in good spirits Thursday after drinking water with electrolytes and getting some rest.

Salinas said that because of Frida’s age, Evil and Echo, who are a year and a half old, usually go into collapsed buildings first. If they detect a person, Frida follows up to confirm. She usually spends no more than 20 minutes inside.

Salinas said they bark if they detect signs of life. If they find a corpse, they stop suddenly, then carefully proceed.

"They act afraid," he said. "That indicates to us that there is a cadaver."

He said the spaces that Frida and the other dogs have had to search are less than 20 inches high. In some places, the dogs had to crawl, getting much deeper into the rubble than rescuers could.

A Sept. 13, 2017, tweet shows Frida, a member of the Mexican navy's Canine Unit. Frida has taken part in search and rescue efforts after the latest quake in Mexico.

Salinas said the dogs are selected for service at 2 months old. They receive training that determines whether they will go into detection of narcotics, explosives or people.

For detection of people, the training starts by throwing toys such as balls. Once the dog gets used to fetching, the trainer begins running with the toy in hand.

"They start associating the smell of the person with the reward of the ball," he said, adding that they train for about 3 hours a day for a year before being sent out to disaster sites.

Frida’s skills are applied not only in Mexico. Salinas said she was in Ecuador during the earthquake of April 2016.

By Thursday afternoon at the school in Mexico City, officials said that all children had been accounted for, but that one person might still be alive and trapped inside.

That means there's still a chance Frida could be sent to find out.

She is a very, very good girl.


Halfway house for Trumpies

Halfway house for Trumpies

by digby

Saying it was the first step in gaining the confidence and stability he would need to reintegrate back into society, residents and staff on Thursday welcomed former White House strategist Sebastian Gorka to New Beginnings, a halfway house for fired Trump administration members.

The 20-bed residential treatment center, which opened earlier this year in the capital’s quiet Woodland Park neighborhood, reportedly offers round-the-clock care to traumatized former West Wing insiders, providing life skills training, wellness workshops, and psychotherapy under the guidance of licensed social workers.

“It’s true these guys got wrapped up with the wrong people, but I firmly believe everyone has value no matter badly they’ve screwed up their lives.”

“At New Beginnings, Mr. Gorka will have the chance to make a fresh start—a chance to reflect on his past actions and hopefully emerge a more responsible citizen,” said director Ross Woodley, who noted that besides housing, the facility offered counseling on issues from anger management to speaking with special prosecutors. “No doubt he’s been through a lot, but he’ll be joining a community of other ex-Trump strategists, senior advisors, and communications personnel who are all going through the same process.”

“It’s very lucky we were able to accommodate him, though, as we’ve been completely full since February,” he added.

According to Woodley, once accepted to the program, a jittery, confused Gorka was driven from the White House directly to the facility to begin treatment. During the intake process, Gorka’s personal belongings were reportedly confiscated and he was asked to sign forms promising not to visit the Oval Office or have any contact with his enabling friends still within the administration.

Sources said that Gorka, 46, has responded well to the facility’s regimented schedule, rising before dawn to brew coffee and make breakfast for the group with former communications director Michael Dubke. Additionally, sources noted that Gorka had bonded with long-term resident Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who showed him how to do his own laundry and helped him buy a bus pass so he could apply for dishwashing jobs around town.

“It’s a good sign that he’s interacting with people—that’s more than we could say for Spicer or Priebus when they got here,” said Woodley, pointing to the two men quietly completing a 1,000-piece winter landscape jigsaw puzzle. “Sean was just a mess. One moment he’d be manically scrawling press releases on the backs of napkins, and the next he’d be screaming in your face, saying that CNN was out to destroy his reputation. Reince has been in and out of a catatonic stupor since he arrived.”

“Yes, it’s true these guys got wrapped up with the wrong people, but I firmly believe everyone has value no matter badly they’ve screwed up their lives, or their family’s lives, or the lives of 314 million Americans,” he continued.

According to Woodley, some of the biggest breakthroughs are made during group therapy where twice a day, former officials gather in the facility’s activity room to discuss tense moments working for the administration and how they might have handled them differently. He noted that while some residents reportedly take weeks to admit the things they’ve done, most eventually build up the courage to share their stories, often breaking down into sobs.

Woodley also explained that all residents are required to follow a strict code of conduct: no drugs or alcohol, no guest appearances on cable news, and a tidy bunk at all times. According to staff, however, abiding by the rules has been especially tough for Steve Bannon, whose attempts to conduct Breitbart editorial meetings via a smuggled cell phone have led to his loss of commissary privileges.

“Bannon is incredibly volatile, so we’ve had to put him on a 24/7 watch to ensure he doesn’t injure himself or others,” said Woodley, adding that the president’s former chief strategist had recently thrown an ashtray at a TV after watching a Fox News segment he considered “bullshit establishment propaganda.” “We thought maybe he’d turned a corner when he found a job as a busboy at a nearby pub, but then he lost it by referring to several waitresses as ‘dykes.’”

While rehabilitation has been easier for some residents than others, Woodley said former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was his biggest success story to date, noting that, after several weeks of intense rage counseling, he had fully accepted responsibility for his chaotic 10-day tenure and would soon be starting a new job at an Arlington landscaping company.

“Though we wish for everyone to have the same level of success as Anthony, we accept it’s not always possible,” said Woodley. “There are only so many resources, and more and more people show up at our doorstep every day.”

“Unfortunately, without our guidance, there’s really no future for these folks,” he continued. “People just don’t want Trump staffers living in their neighborhoods.”

Yes, that's from the Onion.

ADD politics

ADD politics

by digby

That is a chart of all the spikes in searches for news on google since Trump took office.

The study shows that while Trump's presidency has been action-packed, the public's attention span doesn't seem to last for long.

The visible spikes of increased Googling on a topic indicate that Trump-related news captures the public's interest, but that attention quickly fizzles out or is captured by the next bombshell report or firing. The House health care bill, North Korea and Afghanistan troops are some of the few that have had slightly more steady interest over time, with Robert Mueller's Russia investigation having several mini-spikes of interest.

My instincts would normally tell me that this would have a cumulative effect and the public would permanently sour on all this mess. But with Trump, I just don't know. It may just as easily become a sort of addictive need for stimulation too. He could be changing the way we think about politics --- now it's all reality show drama all the time. And we seem to need it to be more exciting all the time.

Trump has always seen politics as just another version of wrestling or reality TV --- scripted drama where everyone pretends to think it's real.

I wonder if he thinks nuclear war would make a ratings grabbing season finale.

He's got friends who are egging him on:

Rep. Duncan Hunter said that the United States needs to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea in order to prevent the rogue nation from harming the U.S. first.

“You could assume, right now, that we have a nuclear missile aimed at the United States, and here in San Diego. Why would they not aim here, at Hawaii, Guam, our major naval bases?” Hunter, an Alpine Republican, said during an appearance on a KUSI show on Thursday.

“The question is, do you wait for one of those? Or, two? Do you preemptively strike them? And that’s what the president has to wrestle with. I would preemptively strike them. You could call it declaring war, call it whatever you want,” Hunter continued.

Hunter, a member of a House Armed Services Committee and the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the United States’ nuclear arsenal, did not say if the military should strike North Korea with conventional or nuclear weapons.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said a war with North Korea would be “catastrophic” and that Seoul would be thoroughly shelled. He said the United States and its allies would win, but at a tremendous cost.

“It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we have seen since 1953," he said. He was not speaking specifically about a preemptive strike.

Yeah, whatever. As Trump said during the campaign, why do we have nuclear missiles if we aren't prepared to use them?

Update: Remember this?

MATTHEWS: OK. The trouble is, when you said that, the whole world heard it. David Cameron in Britain heard it. The Japanese, where we bombed them in 45, heard it. They`re hearing a guy running for president of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about an American president. 
TRUMP: Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?

And this?

BLITZER: But — but you’re ready to let Japan and South Korea become nuclear powers?

TRUMP: I am prepared to — if they’re not going to take care of us properly, we cannot afford to be the military and the police for the world. We are, right now, the police for the entire world. We are policing the entire world.

You know, when people look at our military and they say, “Oh, wow, that’s fantastic,” they have many, many times — you know, we spend many times what any other country spends on the military. But it’s not really for us. We’re defending other countries.

So all I’m saying is this: they have to pay.

And you know what? I’m prepared to walk, and if they have to defend themselves against North Korea, where you have a maniac over there, in my opinion, if they don’t — if they don’t take care of us properly, if they don’t respect us enough to take care of us properly, then you know what’s going to have to happen, Wolf?

It’s very simple. They’re going to have to defend themselves.


I’ve got yer American Carnage for ya right here

I've got yer American Carnage for ya right here

by digby

Politico reports that Trump is privetely worried that nobody will give him credit for "repealing and replacing" the hated Obamacare:

In public, President Donald Trump is all-in on the Senate’s final chance to repeal Obamacare. But privately, there’s ambivalence in the White House about the bill’s contents and its chances of clearing the tightly divided chamber next week.

Trump spent time between meetings at the United Nations calling senators and other senior White House officials about the Graham-Cassidy bill, asking for updated vote tallies and how to woo senators for the bill. White House officials have considered tweaking the state funding to win a vote from GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — and others. Trump has also publicly excoriated Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for voting against the legislation, telling aides he would go after other senators.

"Repeal and Replace!" he said. Trump also defended Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) from Jimmy Kimmel’s scathing criticisms of the bill, concluding that Cassidy is a “class act.”

The public stance is coupled with a sense of doubt inside the White House, though, about the bill and deep concerns about whether it can pass the Senate or House, according to administration officials and congressional sources. These people say the president and his team have little sway with some key members, like GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Murkowski, the trio that tanked Republicans’ repeal attempt in July.

In fact, many Republicans on Capitol Hill believe that Trump cost them Murkowski’s vote in a private phone call this summer. And the president has refrained from making as many calls this go-round, one person familiar with his whipping said...

One official said the concerns from governors have alarmed some in the White House — and that "we really aren't sure what the impact will be” of passing the bill. They also fear that the bill could bring political blowback from the left and right.

Trump has publicly expressed enthusiasm about the bill, tweeting about it repeatedly. But in conversations with aides, he has turned back to one topic: What can the White House do that is seen as "repeal and replace?" a phrase he likes to repeat.

You'll note that not one of these monsters is quoted as being worried that they are killing people. One can only conclude that that is what they like about it. Their concern is only that they "be seen" as passing "repeal and replace" so Trumpie and the GOP can have their victory parade.

Also this. Looks like a minimum of 21 million people losing insurance (including yours truly, I'm sure) by 2026 and probably a lot more.  30 million or more later on.

After 2020, the bill would also sharply cut back federal funding for states that expanded Medicaid, gutting some state budgets by tens of billions of dollars.

“Some states might elect to begin the process of winding down their Medicaid expansion prior to 2020, which could also add to coverage losses during this period,” the report noted.

Brookings also notes that there is nothing in the bill to prevent states from spending the federal block grants that used to be their Medicaid and ACA marketplace budgets for completely unrelated purposes, such as cutting taxes.

After 2026, the losses would become far more severe, with more than 30 million people losing insurance “because of the additional changes to the Medicaid program under this legislation.”

And, by the way, one of the features of this is also that it's going to kill a lot more blue state residents ---- they're stripping them of vast amounts of money because they had the audacity to cover people under Obamacare. This is fashioned as a reward for the deplorable Trump voters --- but they'll get screwed too. I'm guessing they will be happy to make the sacrifice as long as they know that the people of color, uppity women and hippies get it even worse. That's what they live for.

He said there was carnage all over America and goddamn it he's going to make sure of it.


English only

English only

by digby

You would certainly assume that Puerto Rico is a foreign country if you watch the TV coverage of the hurrican which has devastated the island. Normally all it takes is handful of Americans to be affected by a disaster for there to be wall to wall footage and the anchors would all be reporting from the rubble. This one, however, features millions of Americans and it's an afterthought. Perhaps this is why:

If a poll from early 2017 is to be believed, there are millions of Americans who don't realize that when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, it directly impacted American citizens.

As of March 2017, only 47 percent of Americans believed that a person born to Puerto Rican parents was an American citizen, according to a Suffolk poll. By contrast, a whopping 30 percent believed that they would be a citizen of Puerto Rico, with the rest of the people surveyed either not knowing or claiming to be unsure.

The same findings were apparent in an Economic/YouGov poll taken less than one year earlier. As of May 2016, 43 percent of respondents believed that children of Puerto Rican parents in Puerto Rico would be American citizens, while 41 percent said they would be Puerto Rican citizens.

I would bet money that if you asked the president if Puerto Ricans should be given a amnesty and a path to citizenship he would say no.


Catching up with the Mueller probe

Catching up with the Mueller probe

by digby

I wrote about the latest for Salon this morning:

It's always risky to write a recap of the week's latest events in the Russia scandal on a Friday morning, since more often than not all hell breaks loose on Friday night. But this week's been so full of news, what with a horrible earthquake in Mexico, another devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico, a disastrous speech by Donald Trump speech at the UN and a calamitous health care bill poised to pass the Senate, that Russia news seems almost anti-climactic. But in any other week, the information that has emerged in the last few days about the investigation would be dominating the front pages of papers all over the country.

There are a number of threads to the story to pull together. The first is that special counsel Robert Mueller has sent requests to the White House asking for various documents pertaining to Trump's actions as president. These include the firing of James Comey and Michael Flynn, as well as requests for telephone records from Air Force One on the day the president helped draft the false statement about Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with a purported representative of the Russian government, in hopes of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. Even the White House lawyers are compelled to cooperate, thanks to Ken Starr and the Republicans' obsessive pursuit of Bill Clinton's sex life back in the 1990s. At that time, courts held that the president's attorneys had to reveal any information they might possess about potential crimes implicating him.

There is no longer any doubt that Mueller's office is investigating the president for possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation, and it doesn't seem to be limited to events surrounding the Comey firing.

We've known the outlines of this before, but the details of Mueller's requests show that he's stepping up the pressure on the White House and will be focusing on individual staff members to testify about what they saw and heard during this entire period. Notably, Mueller's staff has requested information from former White House press secretary Sean Spicer about his public comments pertaining to Comey's firing.

That request has in turn led to the revelation that Spicer has kept copious notes going all the way back to the Republican convention, the Trump campaign, the transition and into the administration. Those will undoubtedly be of great interest to the special counsel and possibly the congressional committees. When asked about these notebooks, Spicer told his old friend Mike Allen of Axios to stop texting and calling him or he'd "call the proper authorities." As the Mueller investigation starts to close in on the White House, things are getting tense in Trump world.

But for all that intrigue, it wasn't the biggest Russia investigation story of the week. Since he was the man who ran what was known as "The Torturer's Lobby" in Washington for many years, it's only fitting that Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is slowly roasting over a very hot spit. This week CNN confirmed that Manafort had been under a FISA surveillance warrant by American intelligence services from 2014 through 2016 under suspicion of ... something. The warrant wasn't in effect during the period Manafort worked for Trump's campaign, but the government reportedly began to track his communications once again from the fall of 2016 through at least the spring of this year.

Manafort has been involved with a lot of shady characters over the years (and I do mean a lot), so it's difficult to know specifically why he was a surveillance target. But the Washington Post reports that among the documents Manafort turned over to the congressional committees are emails he sent to an employee named Konstantin Kilimnik, who allegedly has ties to Russian intelligence. In those emails, Manafort appears to be offering to set up meetings between Trump and a notorious Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska, who has previously been denied entry into the U.S. because of ties to organized crime.

These emails seem to be written in a sort of code to obscure Deripaska's identity, but nobody has had much trouble figuring it out. At one point Manafort wonders if arranging this meeting will make him "whole." Manafort's spokesman said that he was just trying to collect some money owed to him, but since Deripaska had filed suit against Manafort in 2014 for $17 million, it might make more sense to conclude that Manafort was offering to trade contact with Trump for a relief of his debt, rather than the other way around.

This raises the the question once again as to why in the world Manafort was supposedly working for a billionaire candidate for free. It's not as if Manafort was a longtime Trump friend or a true believer in Trump's ideology, whatever that is. He's a hired gun and hired guns don't work for nothing. He is not the type of guy who doesn't get paid.

Natasha Bertrand at Business Insider put together a narrative of Manafort's tenure with the Trump campaign that's very useful in drawing the bigger picture. The bottom line is that it is starting to look very much as if Manafort was working for someone other than Donald Trump.

What we don't know is what other people on the campaign knew, including Trump himself. To this day he can't bring himself to say anything negative about Vladimir Putin. His irrational attempts to shut down the investigation do not suggest the behavior of a man with nothing to hide.

Manafort left his job as campaign chair in August 2016, but continued to be involved. He made one key decision before his official departure: He made sure that Trump chose Mike Pence as his running mate. When Pence took over the presidential transition team after Chris Christie was let go, according to the Daily Beast, Manafort came back in the tent, helping to choose cabinet members and speaking with Trump and Pence on a regular basis. He even advised the incoming administration on how to handle the Russia investigation.

So Manafort, who had resigned after a wave of reports detailing his shady relationships with Russia-aligned Ukranian politicians, was up to his neck in the Trump transition. During the same period when Jared Kushner was meeting with Russian bankers and talking to the Russian ambassador about back channels at the Russian embassy, and Mike Flynn was on the horn promising to lift the Russia sanctions. Nobody remembered to put any of these meetings on their applications for security clearance.

It's not clear whether Trump has stayed in contact with Manafort since he became president. I'm sure his lawyers go to bed every night praying that he didn't.


If anyone knows charters, it’s Betsy DeVos by @BloggersRUs

If anyone knows charters, it's Betsy DeVos

by Tom Sullivan

Learjet 60 by Igors Cernovs via Creative Commons.

Drain the swamp?

That was the promise. Maybe not as prominent as "build the wall" and "lock her up," but that was one of the president's campaign themes: to "drain the swamp" that is Washington, D.C. Then he took office and began constructing a nicer one. (Your're gonna love it! Believe me.)

Politico has the latest on the president's bigger, more beautiful swamp:

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers’ expense since early May, according to people with knowledge of his travel plans and a review of HHS documents.

The frequency of the trips underscores how private travel has become the norm — rather than the exception — for the Georgia Republican during his tenure atop the federal health agency, which began in February. The cost of the trips identified by POLITICO exceeds $300,000, according to a review of federal contracts and similar trip itineraries.

Price’s use of private jets represents a sharp departure from his two immediate predecessors, Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially in the continental United States. HHS officials have said Price uses private jets only when commercial travel is not feasible.

His office claims that Price's recent flurry of private flights reflects his intense schedule in response to hurricane relief in Texas and Florida.

That's not what Politico's review reveals. The report includes, among others, the Learjet-60 Price chartered on a Saturday in June to take him from San Diego to the tony Aspen Ideas Festival. The plane dropped Price in Aspen 19 hours ahead of his scheduled panel at a cost to taxpayers of $7,100.

The Washington Post explains the reason the 12-year veteran of Congress books private charters is he was once delayed four hours in an airport, poor thing:

“This is Secretary Price, getting outside of D.C., making sure he is connected with the real American people,” said Charmaine Yoest, his assistant secretary for public affairs. “Wasting four hours in an airport and having the secretary cancel his event is not a good use of taxpayer money.”
In a companion piece, Politico reports that charter school advocate, billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, uses her personal jet for travel rather than commercial jets and private charters. At no expense to the taxpayer:
"Secretary DeVos travels on personally-owned aircraft, accompanied by her security detail and whenever possible, additional support staff, at zero cost to U.S. taxpayers," said spokeswoman Liz Hill in an email.

"The secretary neither seeks, nor accepts, any reimbursement for her flights, nor for any additional official travel-related expenses, such as lodging and per diem, even though she is entitled to such reimbursement under government travel regulations," Hill said.

DeVos is also planning to donate her government salary to charity.

Now, I've never been a fan of the charter schools movement or of Betsy DeVos. And perhaps Price simply doesn't have pockets as deep as hers. But having spent so much of her focus on public education, at least she has more of a sense for limited public resources than Price (or her boss) seems to.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.


Trump’s bff is a real no-nonsense guy

Trump's bff is a real no-nonsense guy

by digby

Trump invited this guy to the White House:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will have his son killed if drug trafficking allegations against the younger politician are true, and that the police who carry out the hit will be protected from prosecution.

Paolo Duterte, 42, this month appeared before a senate inquiry to deny accusations made by an opposition lawmaker he was a member of a Chinese triad who helped smuggle in a huge shipment of crystal methamphetamine from China.

President Duterte did not refer to the allegations specifically but reiterated his statement from last year's election campaign that none of his children were involved in drugs, but they would face the harshest punishment if they were.

"I said before my order was: 'If I have children who are into drugs, kill them so people will not have anything to say'," Duterte said in a speech on Wednesday night before government workers at the presidential palace in Manila.

"So I told Pulong (Paolo's nickname): 'My order is to kill you if you are caught. And I will protect the police who kill you, if it is true'," he said.

Duterte, 72, won the presidential elections on a brutal law-and-order platform in which he promised an unprecedented campaign to eradicate illegal drugs in society by killing up to 100,000 traffickers and addicts.

Since he assumed office in the middle of last year, police have reported killing more than 3,800 people in anti-drug operations while thousands of others have been murdered in unexplained circumstances.

Duterte has as president said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts, and described children shot dead in the drug war as "collateral damage".

Remember,Trump told him that he was handling the drug problem "the right way."

And lest you think Trump would never got that far, think again:

The story begins after the death of Trump’s father, Fred Sr., in 1999. As David Cay Johnston explains in his book The Making of Donald Trump, Fred Sr. had written a will after the death of his oldest son, Fred Jr., known as Freddy, in 1981. The will left the majority of Fred Sr.’s wealth to Donald and his surviving siblings. Freddy’s family was largely cut out.

When Fred Sr. died, Freddy’s children sued, claiming that the will “had been ‘procured by fraud and undue influence’ by Donald and the other surviving siblings,” according to Johnston.

Johnston writes that medical insurance had consistently been provided to the family through Fred Sr.’s company. This coverage was crucial for Freddy’s grandson (Donald’s grandnephew), who suffered from seizures and later developed cerebral palsy. So crucial, in fact, that a letter sent from a Trump lawyer to the insurer after the patriarch’s death in 1999 said that “all costs” for the sick child’s care should be covered, regardless of caps on the plan or medical necessity, according to Johnston. That didn’t last long.

A week after the lawsuit was filed in court, Freddy’s son (Donald’s nephew) received a letter informing him that the health insurance would be discontinued, meaning his ill son would be left without coverage. Donald openly admitted to the New York Daily News that he and his siblings took this action out of revenge.

“Why should we give him medical coverage?” Trump said, adding, “They sued my father, essentially. I’m not thrilled when someone sues my father.”

Trump hated his older brother. Why? Because he was an alcoholic.


QOTD: Judge Roy Moore

QOTD: Judge Roy Moore

by digby

The theocratic former judge who was drummed off the Alabama Supreme Court and is now poised to take Jeff Sessions' place in the US Senate is also a poet:

“Babies piled in dumpsters, abortion on demand,Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.” 

“We’ve voted in governments that are rotting to the core,Appointing Godless judges who throw reason out the door. 
Too soft to put a killer in a well deserved tomb,But brave enough to kill that child before he leaves the womb. 

You think that God’s not angry, that our land’s a moral slum? 
How much longer will it be before His judgment comes?”

He seems nice.


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