Identify This

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Dr. Malcolm Cross

I’m now the President of the United States.

Who elected me?

Nobody.  I simply identify myself as the President.  Therefore, I am—at least according to the logic of those who say you are what you say are, even if objective reality says otherwise.

As a social live-and-let-live libertarian on many issues, I really don’t care how people identify themselves, as long as they don’t hurt others.  A man can call himself Napoleon, the Czar of All the Russias, the Queen of the May, a poached egg, or a Royal Canadian snow goose, for all I care.  Just don’t dive-bomb my car with goose doo-doo.

But when the way one identifies oneself hurts others or otherwise gains an unfair advantage, then society should step in and stop the nonsense.  For example, Hillary Clinton used to say she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary—a nonsensical claim, given that she was born six years before Hillary became a household name by conquering Mt. Everest.  Yet she deserves no criticism for her little joke since it hurt nobody.  On the other hand, if it can be shown that Elizabeth Warren’s now-discredited claim that she had significant Native American blood won her preferences in diversity-mad academia, she will deserve sustained and ongoing criticism for a deception which gained her advantages to which, as a white woman, she was not entitled.

The issue of who hurts who is especially tricky when considering cases in which males decide they are females.  Should, for example, boys and men who say they are “girls” and “women” be allowed to use female-designated restrooms?  Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, raised a similar issue when he opined that men identifying as women should be denied access to “women’s shelters.”  His reasoning was that they are established to shelter biological women from abusive men.  To allow men access, no matter what they say they are, defeats the purpose of the shelters.  For expressing his opinion on this issue, he has been denounced as a bigot.

This issue was likewise dramatized in a Canadian case, wherein a biological man, identifying as a woman, sued numerous female beauticians for refusing to give “her” a “Brazilian wax job,” which is supposed to remove pubic hair.  The biological women claimed that despite “her” self-identification as a woman, “her” anatomy had not yet got the message.  They did not want to, uh, well, I think you get the picture.  British Columbia’s Human Rights Commission ruled that in this case biological women cannot be forced to “service” anatomically complete men if they don’t want to.  It added that the so-called “woman” seeking the wax job was less interested in the service itself than in harassing and extorting money from the owners of the beauty shops, most of whom were female immigrants and minorities.

Perhaps the most egregious example of males identifying as females and thereby hurting biological females can be found in “women’s” and “girls’” sports.  Males who are allowed to compete as females in female sports contests may well defeat biological females, thereby depriving biological females of medals, titles, other prizes, including athletic scholarships.  The harm done to biological females is obvious.

So, if people want to indulge themselves in harmless self-identification and behavior, we should not waste much time worrying about them:  No harm, no foul.  But when they use self-identification to gain entry to opportunities to hurt others, they should be stopped.  No males going to the bathroom with females.  No males demanding to be fondled by females.  No males in female athletic contests.  We should no more accept the claim that a man is a woman, when to do so hurts real women, than we should accept the claims that black is white, night is day, or freedom is slavery.

And now I’m officially resigning as President of the United States before some whack jobs identify themselves as the Congress and impeach me.


Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present).  He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014.  He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.

12 Comments

  1. Well, can you gives us your thoughts on this Mr. Cross? I just read it and would be interested in your thought especially since now you are an ex-President?
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    How the Supreme Court and the morbidly rich are ruining democracy in America

    People being killed by wildfires in California and people dying because they can’t afford their insulin are the same thing. Both represent the capture of government by corporations—in other words, both are symptoms of democracy in the United States being replaced by a corporate state with little regard for morality, life or the law.

    In 1976, for the first time in America’s history, five conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that rich people owning their own personal politicians was constitutionally protected because the money they were using to buy legislators and legislation was “free speech.” The case was Buckley v. Valeo. In 1978, SCOTUS extended that logic to corporations in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti.

    The result was predictable. Rich people and corporations rose up and took over the government, as money poured into Reagan’s coffers and the corporate-funded GOP began to dominate the American political scene. And, also predictably, the most predatory and least scrupulous among those billionaires and corporations ended up with the most influence.

    This Supreme Court-written law, reaffirmed in 2010’s Citizens United decision, was never proposed by any legislature, governor, or president, and, in fact, struck down a series of “good government” laws restricting money in politics that went all the way back to 1907.

    And it has largely reduced democracy in the United States to its trappings. The public is engaged in a series of rather empty rituals, at least for the moment.

    A representative democracy, of course, is generally agreed to mean that the majority of the people vote for what they want from government and most often then get it via the people they elected. When the majority wanted, for example, the right to unionize, a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, Social Security, civil rights laws, and Medicare, our government brought those things into existence.

    All that was, of course, before the Supreme Court eradicated what democracy we had in 1976 and 1978.

    Those decisions brought a river of money into politics and thus swept Reagan into office. He did pretty much everything his donors wanted and screwed the rest of us.

    The corporate and billionaire takeover of the American government that began with Reagan in 1981 (based on the Supreme Court decisions of 1976 and 1978) has gotten more complete and more brazen with every election.

    In 2014, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, professors at Princeton and Northwestern universities, respectively, published an extraordinary study that found that in this post-Reagan era, the political goals—the legislative outcomes hoped for—of Americans in the bottom 90 percent of income were, essentially, ignored by the U.S. Congress and presidency, at least when it came to actually passing and signing legislation. The probability of their wants and needs being addressed legislatively was even less likely than random chance.

    The political goals of the top 10 percent, however, predictably happened, with the most elite and wealthy Americans getting the legislation they wanted, when they wanted it.

    This is not democracy; it’s oligarchy or, at the very least, a corporate state. President Franklin D. Roosevelt challenged the corporate state that had emerged in the deregulated Hoover administration head-on, and his efforts largely kept it under control until the Reagan era.

    In a 1938 speech to Congress, FDR said:

    [T]he liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

    We’ve reached that point that FDR warned us about, regardless of the word you use to describe it.

    As Gilens and Page wrote for the Washington Post, explaining their research, “strong support among the affluent is associated with about a 25 point greater probability of a policy being adopted… while strong support among the middle-class is actually associated with a small decline in the likelihood that a policy will be adopted….

    “In other words,” they continued, “strong support among high-income Americans roughly doubles the probability that a policy will be adopted; strong support among the middle class has essentially no effect.”

    What Professors Gilens and Page documented is that the Supreme Court killed democracy in the United States. The will of the people—the very definition of democracy—no longer matters.

    As a result, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) felt safe diverting billions of dollars that could have been used for maintenance or burying their high-tension lines into bloated executive salaries and fabulous shareholder dividends; after all, they owned or could strongly influence the majority of California politicians.

    As Judge William Alsup ruled, “PG&E pumped out $4.5 billion in dividends and let the tree [trimming] budget wither.”

    Now they feel free to cut off people’s power and tell San Francisco to go screw itself when it tried to buy their SF operations.

    It’s also why one of the largest purchasers of drugs in the U.S.—Medicare—is now barred by law (the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003) from negotiating prices for those drugs and must pay full retail for everything, a windfall worth hundreds of billions to the pharmaceutical companies.

    This law, promoted by the Bush administration, was passed back in 2003 but is still on the books because the drug industry owns the majority of our federal politicians, even though 93 percent of Democratic and 74 percent of Republican voters agree that the government should be able to negotiate prices. In addition to being a Medicare-funded windfall for pharmaceutical CEOs, it has led to drug prices exploding across the board, and that has led to dying Americans.

    Most Americans want clean air, pure water, and a healthy environment; every administration since Reagan has, instead, cut thousands of corners or even driven roadways through previous laws and regulations protecting us. The majority of Americans want affordable college, strong Social Security, and a livable minimum wage; instead, since 1980, the trendlines have all been in the opposite direction.

    Industry after industry has poured their largesse into political coffers, and in nearly every case they get what they want, the voting public be damned.

    Americans know this. It’s one of the reasons why, when a buffoonish reality TV star and mobbed-up New York real estate mogul ran for president promising to “drain the swamp” and “break Washington,” millions voted for him. But he’s not giving us democracy, either; he’s just accelerating the slide to a totally corporate-owned state.

    When the five conservatives on the Supreme Court betrayed America by handing our political system over to the morbidly rich and corporations, the Reagan administration, bowing to newly empowered corporate pressure, stopped enforcing a century of anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws.

    No administration since has felt the need to reverse that, as industry after industry—from media to airlines to insurance to hotels to social media to food—have become dominated by cartels of a small handful of companies.

    At this scale, it’s much easier to purchase and lead legislators, as we learned this week happened when it was revealed that last year a paid-off member of Congress slipped language into law written by or for Boeing that essentially put them in charge of FAA airworthiness certification. The result was the 737 Max and 346 dead human beings.

    In the Democratic primaries, several candidates started backing away from Medicare for All when people from drug, hospital, doctor and insurance interests began to financially support their campaigns. The Republican Party sold their souls back in the 1980s; only about half of the Democratic Party is in a similar condition of servitude, which has put the party at a severe electoral disadvantage since that era.

    When I asked President Jimmy Carter about Citizens United and this doctrine of money as speech in 2015, he said: “It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and Congress members.

    “So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over,” said President Carter.

    In nation after nation throughout modern history, every time government has been taken over by oligarchs and corporations, democracy has died—usually to be replaced by a strongman form of oligarchy or outright fascism.

    Congress could have reversed the Supreme Court’s decision at any time with either legislation that explicitly says money is not speech and that (per Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution) this issue is an “exception” on which the Supreme Court may not rule.

    It could also be done by two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states passing a constitutional amendment declaring that money is not the same thing as speech, and that corporations are not persons.

    Because of a corrupt Supreme Court, oligarchs and the corporations that made them rich have taken over the American political system. If we don’t take it back from them soon, the entire experiment of an American democratic republic will come to an end.

    Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America and more than 25 other books in print. He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute.

    This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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  2. And just one more for your review Mr. ex-President for your review…

    https://www.alternet.org/2019/10/tax-the-hell-out-of-me-young-millionaire-google-exec-backs-prospect-of-bernie-sanders/?utm_source=push_notifications

    ‘Tax the hell out of me’: Young millionaire Google exec backs prospect of Bernie Sanders as presiden

    ‘Michael Sayman—a young millionaire Google executive—openly embraced Monday the prospect of a Bernie Sanders administration that would “tax the hell out of me” as he invoked the campaign’s recent rallying cry to “fight for someone you don’t know.”

    “While I live in luxury, most Americans are working harder than I’ll ever work in my life, and get paid scraps for it,” tweeted 23-year-old Sayman, who works as senior product manager at Google. “It ain’t right. Tax me whatever’s necessary.”

    The Twitter thread underscored a key platform of the Sanders campaign: guaranteeing healthcare as a human right.

    Michael Sayman

    @michaelsayman
    Being in the top 1% of income, my taxes will go sky-high under a Bernie Sanders administration, but sometimes you have to be willing to fight for someone else, fight for someone you don’t know.

    People are dying cuz they don’t have healthcare, those are people worth fighting for.

    5,590
    1:21 AM – Oct 28, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    1,276 people are talking about this

    Michael Sayman

    @michaelsayman
    · Oct 28, 2019
    Replying to @michaelsayman
    So by all means, tax the hell out of me.

    A nation is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable people among us.

    While I live in luxury, most Americans are working harder than I’ll ever work in my life, & get paid scraps for it.

    It ain’t right.

    Tax me whatever‘s necessary.

    Michael Sayman

    @michaelsayman
    I see a lot of comments thanking me. Please don’t.

    I didn’t earn these tax breaks.

    I didn’t earn these capital gains.

    There is nothing to thank me for. I do not deserve so much of what I have.

    Demand what is just, and don’t stop till you get it, please. I‘ll be there with ya.

    1,220
    7:56 AM – Oct 28,

    Less than two weeks ago, Sanders addressed a 33,000-strong campaign rally in Long Island City, Queens and closed out his speech with a series of questions including, “Are you willing to fight for that person who you don’t even know as much as you’re willing to fight for yourself?”

    Those questions became a rallying cry for his supporters, with Twitter users quickly responding over the following hours with affirmations that they were willing to do so.

    Among those supporters was Sayman, who tweeted at the time: “I am grateful that I don’t have student debt, but I will fight for you. I am grateful that I don’t have any health issues and have decent healthcare, but I will fight for you. I am grateful that I don’t live in poverty, but I will fight for you.”

    Sayman’s comments regarding taxes are in line with another group of wealthy Amercians’—the Patriotic Millionaires.

    In a statement last month, Morris Pearl, a former managing director at Blackrock, Inc., and chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said, “The wealthiest people in this country haven’t been paying their fair share for a long time, and part of that problem is because our tax code only taxes the wealthy based on how much income they choose to take each year.”

    “The very rich get money not from earning it each year, but from spending wealth that they have already made,” said Pearl. “If our tax laws only target one without touching the other, then rich folks like me will continue to find ways to game the system and our inequality crisis will continue to get worse.”

    A first generation American, Sayman began making money from the first app he created at just 13 years old, is the creator of one of the world’s top apps—4 Snaps—and was hired by Facebook at just 18 before moving on to Google.
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    I’d just say that young Mr Sayman is not one of Trump’s boys. He knows the truth about global warming and he knows his generations climate disaster and is in it to help.

  3. Mr. Ex-President if you were back in office would your administration feed the alligators like President Trump’s administration? I mean would you keep your throat on the working peoples struggles day to day like Trump’s does?

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/29/leaked-audio-payday-loan-executive-bragging-about-white-house-access-reveals-quid?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=email

    Published on
    Tuesday, October 29, 2019
    byCommon Dreams
    Leaked Audio of Payday Loan Executive Bragging About White House Access Reveals ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Top Trump Donors Enjoy
    “The president pledged to drain the swamp, instead it appears he’s catering to the alligators.”

    byJake Johnson, staff writer

    Offering what one observer called “a crystal clear picture of how money buys influence in U.S. politics,” leaked audio obtained Tuesday by consumer watchdog group Allied Progress showed executives from some of the largest payday lenders in the U.S. boasting about how they have used campaign donations to purchase access to President Donald Trump’s White House.

    One of the audio clips posted online by Allied Progress features Advance Financial founder and CEO Michael Hodges explaining how his donations to Trump’s presidential campaign have given him the power to contact the White House about desired policy changes.

    “It’s not surprising payday lenders are exploiting President Trump’s fondness for quid pro quos, because it clearly works.”
    —Derek Martin, Allied Progress
    “When you go and speak to the administration through the campaign, they will listen,” said Hodges. “For example, I’ve gone to [Republican National Committee Chairwoman] Ronna McDaniel and said, ‘Ronna, I need help on something,’ she’s been able to call over to the White House and say, ‘Hey, we have one of our large givers. They need an audience. They want, they need to be heard. And you need to listen to them.'”

    Hodges said the Trump White House “has been helpful on this particular rule that we’re working on right now,” apparently referring to an Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulation designed to prevent consumers from falling into debt traps due to high-interest loans.

    The CFPB, run by Trump appointee Kathy Kraninger, took the first steps toward scrapping the rule in February. Allied Progress said “the payday industry will reap over $7 billion every year in fees from the most vulnerable communities in the United States” if the CFPB succeeds in killing the regulation.

    Listen to Hodges’ remarks, which came during a September 24 webinar with a group of payday lending executives:

    Max Wood of Borrow Smart Compliance, a consultant for the payday industry, said during the webinar that “the needle moved in our favor” after Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.

    “President Trump is really the backstop,” said Wood.

    In a statement Tuesday, Allied Progress director Derek Martin said the recordings represent “the worst of Washington, D.C.—wealthy executives buying off politicians so they can keep their predatory business model intact.”

    “It’s not surprising payday lenders are exploiting President Trump’s fondness for quid pro quos, because it clearly works,” added Martin. “The president and his team at the CFPB have no good reason to push millions more people towards 400 percent interest loans and the payday debt trap. They’re acting solely on the millions of bad reasons payday lenders keep contributing to his campaign, and the industry clearly feels emboldened by that.”

    “The president pledged to drain the swamp, instead it appears he’s catering to the alligators,” Martin said.

    Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Our community churches work hard for those in needs that live in our community while high loan rates hold them down.

  4. Tab Thompson told me late one fall evening that all things are possible with prayer and Tab has never lied to me and I pray we don’t lose our Republican Party in Erath County to a guy from New York City. Tab’s dad and me used to tease-argue over the years which party invented the stamp and the mail. Then I told Dr. Grant of Tarleton fame that Brad and I agreed that women didn’t invent it because they didn’t need to spread lies like us men did.

  5. Dr. Cross I wish you were in the Oval Office now because unlike our current political woes and the woes coming from the politicians of today you’d have assembled and listened to others skilled in selecting a supporting cast in assisting you make decisions in the interest of America’s people along with our allies and those we protect.

    Instead of case in point…I guess they’ll give Putin the Fire Exit codes at Whiteman Air Force Base.

    https://www.alternet.org/2019/10/gop-sens-ron-johnson-and-marsha-blackburn-are-tied-to-russian-money-and-trump-conspiracy-theories-theyre-not-alone/?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2836

    GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Marsha Blackburn are tied to Russian money and Trump conspiracy theories. They’re not alone

    Written by Sophia Tesfaye / Salon October 30, 2019
    Nancy Pelosi has announced that the House will finally hold a formal vote dictating the rules for the impeachment inquiry, six weeks after it was launched by a whistleblower’s complaint mysteriously withheld from Congress. And on Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman backed up both the initial whistleblower and U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor by testifying that he too was concerned about the Trump administration’s push to use congressionally-allocated military aid to Ukraine to coerce an investigation into Joe Biden.

    Congressional Republicans have long since stopped defending Trump on the merits since shortly after the White House released a transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Instead, they’ve sought refuge in increasingly meaningless process arguments. So of course Pelosi agreeing to a formal vote on the rules of impeachment hasn’t stopped Republican complaints about the process. The goalposts will shift once again. No matter what the Democrats agree to, Republicans will complain about procedural unfairness and also refuse to concede the inquiry is legitimate. But how much of Republicans’ unwillingness to hold Trump accountable for his self-dealing is because they’re in on it?

    On Monday the Washington Post published an interview with a Ukrainian diplomat who claimed to have met with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., this summer to discuss the baseless conspiracy theory promoted by President Trump that Ukrainian officials had interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

    Johnson reportedly met with Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill in July, and Telizhenko then met with Johnson’s Senate staff for five additional hours. According to the report, “the discussions focused in part on ‘the DNC issue’ — a reference to his unsubstantiated claim that the Democratic National Committee worked with the Ukrainian government in 2016 to gather incriminating information about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Telizhenko said he could not recall the date of the meeting, but a review of his Facebook page revealed a photo of him and Johnson posted on July 11.”

    Johnson is a vocal Trump defender who has hounded the inspector general of the intelligence community about investigating media leaks regarding the Ukraine call. He has previously admitted that he was told by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, that Ukraine needed to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016” in order to receive military aid.

    As Johnson told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, after Sondland told him that, he was assured “if President Trump has that confidence” that the Ukrainians would do his bidding, “then he’ll release the military spending.” Now, as the Post points out, Johnson’s “knowledge of key events” in the case may “complicate his role as a juror in a trial by the Senate.”

    Recall that when Johnson was asked about his defense of Trump’s actions, he snapped at the simple question from NBC News’ Chuck Todd and spun out the same deep state conspiracy theory pushed by the likes of Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

    Beyond his apparent involvement in Trump’s Ukraine dealings, Johnson is alleged to have benefited from campaign money illegally funneled from Russia via shell corporations owned by the National Rifle Association, which helped him win his tight 2016 race in Wisconsin.

    Political action committees for Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham reportedly accepted $7.35 million in contributions from a Ukrainian-born oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 election. McConnell and Graham are co-sponsors of a new resolution condemning the House impeachment inquiry. At least 50 Senate Republicans, several of whom have refused to publicly comment on the growing Ukraine scandal — citing a need to remain impartial for a likely Senate impeachment trial — have already signed onto that bill. The resolution is currently paused in the Senate Rules Committee until the House votes on impeachment rules later this week.

    As House Democrats’ investigation has rapidly unveiled ever more damaging material regarding Trump’s Ukraine scandal, public support for impeachment has shot up. Reportedly nervous about his wall of defense in the Senate crumbling, the president recently hosted several GOP senators at the White House, including top Johnson, Graham, John Thune of South Dakota and John Kennedy of Louisiana, last week. A day earlier, Thune and Kennedy, had blocked a Democratic bill to provide funding for states to shore up election security. The next day, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., quietly blocked three election-security bills for the second time this year.

    “You know, it’s not a good sign if you’re doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” Blackburn said on the Senate floor late last week. She is among the Republican senators with close ties to a U.S.-sanctioned Russian politician who is accused of illegally channeling Russian funds through the NRA. Under Senate rules, any individual senator can block a vote on a bill.

    When Senate Republicans are not prematurely dismissing an impeachment inquiry on which they will probably have to render judgment, they continue to protect Trump’s refusal to clamp down on potential election interference. If Republican charges of a “kangaroo court” are anything, they are a classic case of projection: How can Senate Republicans possibly serve as impartial jurors in a trial of the president, when they are implicated in the same pattern of political malfeasance?

    Sophia Tesfaye is Salon’s Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

  6. See Dr. Cross the Beltway Boys (and Girls) are nearly all in cahoots… This is written by Jim Hightower a former Texas Ag Commissioner. And this is all of us in Erath County no matter how you votedor even if you didn’t vote…

    https://www.alternet.org/2019/10/how-big-oil-exploited-a-loophole-in-the-law-to-bilk-the-united-states-out-of-billions/?utm_source=push_notifications

    Written by Jim Hightower / Creators Syndicate October 30, 2019
    When you’re undergoing a dental procedure, there’s one thing you never want to hear your dentist say: “Oops!”

    It’s also alarming to hear that from a former senator 25 years after he passed a temporary subsidy for Big Oil. With world petroleum prices low at the time, Democratic Sen. J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana pushed through a special break in 1995, temporarily exempting the giants from paying federal royalty fees for the publicly owned crude they took from the Gulf of Mexico. The idea was to cut our dependence on the Arabian cartel by giving oil corporations a brief reprieve on royalties so they would drill here.

    But — oops! — our lawmakers made a big (and costly) slip-up: They forgot to specify in the law that the exemption was temporary. Republicans and Democrats had agreed that when market prices recovered, the corporations were to resume payments to us taxpayers. “It was never the intent that everybody would get a free ride forever,” says an official who was involved in the original negotiations.

    Sure enough, market prices had recovered by 2006. But “greed” is both the industry’s motto and its modus operandi, so the oil barons that had benefited from this public generosity in their time of need have thumbed their nose at the public ever since, essentially saying, “Tough luck, suckers! There’s no limit in the law, so we’re just gonna keep sucking up all the oil we can without paying a dime in royalties.”

    This is no petty thievery. Chevron, Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP and even China’s state-run oil corporation are among the giants that have taken at least $18 billion from our nation’s treasury so far. And their haul increases every day that they’re allowed to pump up profits through this unintended loophole.

    The only thing bigger than Big Oil’s avarice is its arrogance. The industry’s lobbying front group has warned Congress not to try plugging the loophole, declaring that such an attempt would be “engaging in a dangerous game of bait and switch.”
    Big Oil’s greed knows no bounds either. For example, Exxon, which banked a whopping $290 billion in sales last year, makes money the old-fashioned way: lying, cheating, exploiting workers, extracting subsidies from taxpayers, dodging taxes, refusing to pay for its pollution and other forms of corporate finagling.

    But mighty Exxon now finds itself in federal court, finally called to account for lying to its own shareholders, the public and government officials. At issue are the true financial and environmental costs of the damages that its oil and gas operations are inflicting upon Earth’s climate. The legal case points out that it is perversely profitable to pollute if you don’t have to include the costs of those damages on your corporate books.

    Technically, the charge is that Exxon kept two sets of financial books: one secretly acknowledging internally that its pollution was devastating our climate and would eventually cost shareholders a fortune, the other a rosy public presentation hiding those costs in order to claim that its fossil fuel empire was more cost-effective than wind, solar and other clean energy sources.

    This blatant deceit has defrauded shareholders about the actual value of their investment, diverted public policy from necessary conversion to nonpolluting fuels and accelerated the radical impacts of climate change.

    While the lawsuit filed against Exxon will largely focus on arcane aspects of securities law, it is fundamentally about corporate morality. As environmental activist Lee Wasserman recently put it, the case is a chance “for society to free itself from the grasp of this lethal industry,” adding that “we’re victims of a small group of gargantuan companies that recklessly and deliberately ignored the implications of their own science and worked to deceive the public.”

    Indeed, their recklessness continues. Even though Exxon now admits the damage its products are causing, Wasserman notes, the careless behemoth “plans to increase its oil output by 25 percent by 2025.”

    Of course, any monetary fine the corporation might have to pay is only a tiny fraction of its yearly income, so that’s no deterrent. The real punishment is that Exxon and its executives are tagging themselves as the same morally repugnant profiteers those in the soulless tobacco industry have been. One force bigger than Big Oil is an infuriated public. To learn more and to fight for our environment, go to the Sierra Club.

    Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes “The Hightower Lowdown,” a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org. COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

  7. And Dr. Cross I’d have to resign from your administration if the likes of this were going on! And Iwouldn;t be sorry because an honorable discharge demanded an oath that exceeds that of a President. Here watch and decide what you’d do.

    Watch the segment entitled: Parnas associations range from Russian mob to Trump legal team..it’s the “last” segment at the bottom.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/as-impeachment-enters-next-phase-witnesses-tell-consistent-story-72552517970?cid=eml_mra_20191101

  8. Wow! And also they took from St Jude’s by charging for the use of their golf course and administrative duties ran by the blonde headed son on the day of the golf event when he had told everyone the Trumps would do that all free and use of the golf course was free…

    *This New York state case by New York’s Attorney General most likely wasn’t reported on Foc Cable News..

    * https://www.alternet.org/2019/11/trumps-charity-woes-are-uncommon-if-not-unprecedented-and-could-get-more-costly/

    Trump’s charity woes are uncommon if not unprecedented and could get more costly

    Written by The Conversation November 9, 2019
    The Donald J. Trump Foundation is now defunct and the state of New York has ordered the president to give US$2 million to a group of nonprofits out of his own pocket as restitution for breaking the law by misusing charitable funds.

    I’m an expert on charitable tax law who used to work at the Internal Revenue Service. I find Trump’s admissions of impropriety in the settlement to a lawsuit New York authorities filed against him startling. But although this saga may appear to have concluded, I don’t believe that the full repercussions of his legal woes have become clear.

    The Trump Foundation, among other misdeeds, improperly spent $250,000 to settle the legal disputes incurred by the Trump family’s business dealings.

    Trump also used $25,000 in charitable money to make a donation to support the reelection campaign of then-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican who is reportedly going to join his administration soon and at the time was considering whether to launch an investigation of Trump University – which, like the foundation, has been dismantled.

    Federal law prohibits the use of charitable money to make political donations.

    Trump occasionally used the foundation’s money to purchase things he simply wanted to own, including football player Tim Tebow’s autographed helmet and two paintings of himself.

    These Florida protesters in 2016 objected to the Trump Foundation’s support for Pam Bondi, who was then serving as their state’s attorney general.
    AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
    Uncommon restrictions
    Although the Trumps had already agreed in December 2018 to dissolve the foundation, and they had previously admitted to committing legal violations, the specifics of the settlement did not get sorted out for nearly another year.

    If Trump ever launches a new charity chartered in New York or even sits on a charitable board, he’ll have to submit to an unusual degree of monitoring. A majority of board seats on any new Trump charity would have to be occupied by people who aren’t in his family. The charity would have to employ a qualified lawyer. It would have to be audited regularly to ensure that it doesn’t pay Trump or his company for any services.

    Eight nonprofits will share Trump’s $2 million in restitution and the $1.78 million remaining in the Trump Foundation’s coffers. They are Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals on Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, the United Negro College Fund, United Way of the National Capital Area and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Interestingly, the settlement mentions that Trump and his businesses had already paid a total of about $340,000 back to the Trump Foundation between 2016 and 2019 to cover the amount of money disbursed for his self-dealing transactions.

    And it’s worth noting that the Trumps can’t take a charitable deduction on any of these payments to charity when they file their taxes.

    Trump’s own take
    Despite having reached a settlement requiring his admission of wrongdoing, the president seemed to informally assert he did nothing wrong.

    Trump tweeted a statement accusing Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, of “deliberately mischaracterizing” the settlement.

    “All they found was incredibly effective philanthropy and some small technical violations, such as not keeping board minutes,” he said through the social media platform. The statement also referred to Trump’s decision to officially move his official residence from New York City to Palm Beach, Florida.

    The Trump Foundation had disbursed about $19 million over the past decade, including $8.25 million of the president’s own money, to hundreds of charitable organizations, according to its lawyer Alan Futerfas.

    Precedents
    It’s unprecedented that a sitting president of the United States officially admit to this kind of wrongdoing and agree to formal supervision if he should ever venture back into the charitable world. And while it’s not unheard of, it’s uncommon for legal authorities to order anyone to spend millions of dollars to compensate the public for misusing charitable funds under their control.

    One reason is that it’s pretty hard to get caught. For the most part, charity laws and regulations are not subject to across-the-board enforcement at the state level or by the IRS.

    The closest precedent involving the White House and charitable transgressions that comes to mind occurred half a century ago.

    resident Richard Nixon’s attorneys falsified documents from him to take a tax deduction on the value of his pre-presidential papers he said he’d donated to the National Archives prior to July 25, 1969.

    After an IRS employee leaked information about Nixon’s tax return, he agreed to allow the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation to examine the propriety of his returns from that time. It found other failures to boot. Nixon had to pay more than $450,000 in back taxes and interest.

    Nixon also allegedly exchanged $2 million in dairy industry campaign contributions for increasing milk subsidies. Those revelations came out in the middle of the Watergate inquiry that led to his exit from office.

    A more recent parallel involved Paul C. Cabot Jr., who pilfered millions of dollars from the Paul & Virginia Cabot Charitable Trust to finance his own lavish lifestyle. In 2004, the Massachusetts attorney general ordered Cabot Jr., the heir to a mutual fund pioneer, to pay $4 million in restitution.

    Cabot Jr. was completely barred from serving as a board member in any Massachusetts charity for life.

    The IRS
    While Trump has resolved his civil liability with the state of New York associated with his shuttered foundation, this settlement may mean that Trump will owe the IRS money.

    That’s because he has admitted that his campaign took advantage of the foundation’s expenditures to boost his 2016 presidential bid. In particular, the political campaign took control over the disbursement of $2.8 million to veterans causes at a televised fundraiser that doubled as a campaign event.

    Because tax law clearly bars charities like the Trump Foundation from attempting to “influence the outcome of any specific public election,” I believe that the foundation could owe a 10% excise tax of the amount involved – $282,300.

    The precedent for this would be the $2,500 Trump paid to the IRS in 2016 after reimbursing the Foundation for the $25,000 Bondi campaign contribution.

    [ Expertise in your inbox. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter and get a digest of academic takes on today’s news, every day. ]The Conversation
    Philip Hackney, Associate Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  9. Mr President, we sure want to remember this in case you were to run again because remember back to the old saying –Going Down the Tubes— we it’s playing out in real time…the NBC guy that built Trump’s show is the editor a go-go at CNN…

    https://www.alternet.org/2019/11/former-reality-television-star-donald-trump-and-fox-news-impeachment-hearings-only-a-tv-show/?utm_source=push_notifications

    It was hard as a veteran yesterday to watch and hear Rep. Jordan try to throw rehearsed “throw anything against the Wall Hope it Sticks at a man who Pompeo sought out come back in government and serve AND HIS WIFE WAS TOTALLY AGAINST HIM GOING NEAR TRUMP, a man 5th in his class at the Academy AND SELECTED— THAT CHOSE TO GO INFANTRY where his country was sending young men, Viet Nam then… it will be a huge topic today as Viet Vets will have the floor because it is PTSD relapse day… in central Texas veterans meeting I’m going to and listen..here how rough it was for them and one sees a Care-Flight helicopter and he goes through a scene where he recalls guarding wounded soldiers as field medic’s we attending the wounded that others were bringing more and the Helicopters were COMING… he said it was his worst Sunday ever…around the MeKong delta zones… young kids answering Father’s calls to Leaders of Communist that were snuffing out families of 6 and 8 and less if they didn’t agree Leaders like Putin… …

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