Russia and Ukraine are all one big treasonous scandal

One of the key lines in the House Democrats’ impeachment report distills the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a simple idea: “[T]he impeachment inquiry has found that Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.”

And in the report’s preface, the Democrats place Trump’s Ukrainian caper within the larger context of foreign intervention in US elections, namely Russia’s covert attack on the 2016 contest, which was mounted in part to help Trump win the White House: “We were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by Trump who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which Trump welcomed and utilized.”

The point was clear. Trump muscling Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to produce political dirt that could influence the 2020 election for Trump’s personal advantage was a continuation of Trump’s behavior in 2016. This contextualization brings back into the spotlight Vladimir Putin’s clandestine assault on American democracy—and how Trump encouraged and exploited that attack. So now, as Trump is under scrutiny for pressing Ukraine to influence the 2020 race, it’s a good time to review all the ways that Trump aided and abetted a foreign adversary’s scheme to subvert a US election the last time the nation was choosing a president.

Signaled to Moscow that its intervention in the election was desirable: On June 9, three top Trump advisers—Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort—held a secret meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian emissary whom they were informed would provide them dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr., who arranged this get-together, much later claimed that this Russian lawyer, who had ties to the Kremlin and Russian security service, provided them no useful information. But this meeting had more significance than what was actually discussed. During the preparation for this event, Trump Jr. had received an email from the middle-man who set it up saying the meeting came out of an offer from Russia’s top prosecutor and was “part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump.” This means Trump’s son was informed that Russia was angling to secretly help Trump—and that Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort were fine with that. And by taking the meeting, Trump Jr. and the others were conveying a message to Russia that the Trump campaign didn’t mind—and would welcome—covert assistance from the Russian government. (Trump has claimed that he was unaware of this meeting. But Michael Cohen testified to Congress that he believed Trump was aware of the meeting before it occurred.)

Denied Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee: On June 14, 2016, the Washington Post reported that the DNC had been attacked and penetrated by Russian government hackers who gained access to “all email and chat traffic.” The Kremlin, naturally, denied this. Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s top spokesman said, “I completely rule out a possibility that the [Russian] government or the government bodies have been involved in this.” The next day, Trump’s campaign echoed Moscow’s line. It put out a statement declaring, “We believe is was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.” That is, there had been no hack; this was all a hoax. The Trump statement accepted and boosted Moscow’s disinformation and its cover-up. Putin and his covert operators must have been pleased.

Denied Russia was attacking Clinton’s campaign: In July, three days before the start of the Democrats’ presidential convention, WikiLeaks dumped tens of thousands of emails and documents the Russian hackers had stolen from the DNC. This was an attempt to disrupt the Democrats’ gathering. Senior Clinton campaign officials publicly contended that their camp was being targeted by Moscow. Team Trump contended that was hogwash. On CNN, Trump Jr. blasted the Democrats for suggesting Russian involvement: “It just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean they’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie. It’s disgusting. It’s so phony.” And on the same network Manafort dismissed the Democrats’ claim, saying, “It’s just absurd…it is crazy,” Yet the previous month, they and Kushner had met with the Russian emissary whom they were told was part of a secret Kremlin effort to assist the Trump campaign. Once again, the Trump campaign was reinforcing Putin’s we-didn’t-do-it stance—which, no doubt, was heartening for Moscow.

Encouraged Russia to hack Clinton: The denials of Russia’s involvement from Trump’s top advisers could well have been read by Moscow’s operators as a green light from the Trump campaign. But Trump made it explicit at a press conference on July 27, while the Democratic convention was still underway in Philadelphia. He repeated his campaign’s denial—”Nobody knows who it is”—and then went further: “I will tell you this—Russia if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand [Clinton] emails that are missing. I think you’ll probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” Trump was essentially encouraging another government to hack his political rival. He was openly requesting foreign intervention in the US election. And within five hours of Trump’s statement, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, Russian government hackers did try to break into email accounts associated with Clinton and her personal office. This shows the Russians were paying attention to what Trump was saying.

Made secret contact with the Kremlin: Throughout the summer of 2016, the Trump campaign tried to set up a secret connection with Putin’s government. The campaign did this after cybersecurity experts had identified Russia as the culprit in the DNC hacking and after news reports had noted that US intelligence agencies had reached the same conclusion. A little-noticed portion of the statement of offense in Muller’s case against George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, lays this out. (Papadopoulos’ April 2016 conversation with a suspected Russian asset who said Moscow possessed Clinton’s emails later triggered the FBI’s Russia investigation.) The legal filing notes that Papadopoulos “from mid-June through mid-August 2016…pursued an ‘off the record’ meeting between one or more Campaign representatives and ‘members of president Putin’s office’” and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Papadopoulos’ effort, according to the document, was no rogue action; other campaign officials knew about it, and one even encouraged him to travel to Russia to meet with Russian officials to make this contact “if it is feasible.” (Papadopoulos did not take such a trip.) The Trump campaign was attempting to establish a backdoor channel with Putin, even as Putin was attacking the 2016 election. This overture was probably seen by the Kremlin as yet another sign that the Trump campaign accepted—and welcomed—Moscow’s intervention in the US election. (Also, in early August, Manafort met with a former business associate who was a suspected Russian intelligence asset, and Manafort shared internal campaign polling data with him and discussed a pro-Putin peace plan for Ukraine. This, too, could have been seen by Moscow as a signal that the Trump campaign was willing to play ball with Russia, as Russia was trying to subvert the election.)

Embraced Moscow disinformation: In mid-August, Trump, as the Republican nominee, received a briefing from the US intelligence community that included the intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia was behind the DNC hack. Nevertheless, in the following weeks, Trump repeatedly denied Russia was the perp. During his first debate with Clinton, Trump declared, “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC… I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke into DNC.” At the second debate—days after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying that “the Russian Government directed” the hacks of the DNC and other Democratic targets—Trump, referring to Clinton, exclaimed, “She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking.” (He added, “I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there.” Trump neglected to mention that earlier in the year he had tried to develop a massive tower project in Moscow and his company had sought help for the project from Putin’s office.) With these remarks, Trump was parroting Putin’s false claims. Such comments likely emboldened Russia. (Looking to stay in sync with Trump and his comments, Republican congressional leaders, most notably Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, avoided joining with the Obama administration to forcefully oppose Putin’s intervention in the election.) And after WikiLeaks in October 2016, as part of the Russian scheme to help Trump, began its daily release of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta by Russian hackers, Trump repeatedly proclaimed he loved WikiLeaks—embracing this foreign intervention in the election.

Again and again, during the 2016 campaign, Trump and his aides denied Russia was intervening in the election, but they also praised this interference and sought to secretly hook up with the foreign adversary that was waging information warfare against the United States. (The recent trial of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone showed that Trump and his advisers sought to use Stone as contact with WikiLeaks.) This part of the Trump-Russia affair has never received the attention it warrants, in part because much of the scandal came to be defined by the question of whether Trump directly colluded with Moscow. But he didn’t have to in order for the Russians to mount the operation that succeeded in helping Trump become president.

All of these actions detailed above—which may not have been criminal—deserved full congressional investigation and could be part of an impeachment case against Trump (as could the report that Trump, once elected, told Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting that he didn’t care about Russia’s attack on the election). But the House Democrats have not followed through on their promise to revive the Trump-Russia investigation. Instead, they relied on Mueller’s report—which was limited—and generally concluded after Mueller’s lackluster appearance on Capitol Hill that the Russia scandal was kaput. They then trained their impeachment sights on the narrow Ukraine caper. Still, Democrats have recently been noting that there is a strong tie between the two scandals—”All roads lead to Putin,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week—and that Trump’s conduct in the Ukraine episode follows his pattern of accepting, welcoming, and requesting foreign intervention during the last presidential election. Trump did escape accountability for what he did in 2016, but the Ukraine scandal shows that he has been on a spree. He was elected because of foreign interference he encouraged. As president, he sought additional intervention from overseas to boost his reelection prospects. It’s a straight line, and his critics are right to wonder what Trump—if (or when) he survives impeachment—might try to pull next to hold on to the presidency.

David Corn Mother Jones

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/12/trumps-sordid-history-of-accepting-requesting-and-encouraging-foreign-interference-in-us-elections/

 

A very discouraging sign as Trump’s China trade war has a global climate impact

Around the world last year, coal power started to decline:

More plants were closed than were built and the globe’s coal power capacity went down by 2.8 gigawatts.

But that’s about to change!
In a break with the global trend, China added 25.5 gigawatts to its coal capacity last year. And it’s due to ramp that up, as the world’s biggest energy consumer ignores global pressure to rein in carbon emissions in its bid to boost a slowing economy caused in part as a reaction to Trump’s trade war.

That’s according to a report from Global Energy Monitor, a nonprofit group that monitors coal stations. The current capacity of the entire European Union coal fleet is 149 gigawatts. While the rest of the world has been largely reducing coal-powered capacity over the past two years, China is building so much coal power that it more than offsets the decline elsewhere.

Ted Nace, head of Global Energy Monitor, says the new coal plants will have a significant impact on China’s already-increasing carbon emissions.

“What is being built in China is single-handedly turning what would be the beginning of the decline of coal into the continued growth of coal,” he says, adding that China was “swamping” global progress in bringing down emissions.

Concerns over air pollution and overinvestment in coal prompted China to suspend the construction of hundreds of coal stations in 2016. But many have since been restarted, as Beijing seeks to stimulate an economy growing at its slowest pace since the early 1990s.

Pressure has been increasing on China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to reduce emissions, which have been creeping up since 2016, and hit a record high last year.

China has pledged to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 as part of the Paris climate agreement. However, a number of countries including the EU, have been urging China to move that date forward.

The report shows the pace of new construction starts of Chinese coal stations rose 5 percent in the first half of 2019, against the same period last year. About 121 gigawatts of coal power is actively under construction in China, slightly lower than the same point a year ago.

The renewed push into coal has been driven by Chinese energy companies desperate to gain market share and by local governments that view coal plants as a source of jobs and investment. While electricity demand in China rose 8.5 percent last year, the current grid is already oversupplied and coal stations are used only about half the time.

“The utilization of coal-fired power plants will reach a record low this year, so there is no justification to build these coal plants,” says Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a think tank. “But that is not the logic that investment follows in China.… There is little regard for the long-term economics of the investments that are being made.”

 

From:
Leslie Hook of OZY & U.K.’s Financial Times

Scam artist Trump and the Climate disaster will bankrupt the US

Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, the UN has warned. Seen here is the damage left by Cyclone Kenneth in a village north of Pemba, Mozambique: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

 

For decades Donald Trump has been losing millions and driving normally profitable businesses into the ground. Now, this idiot is poised to do this on an international scale.

Climate- and weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to a Federal Reserve official.

In addition to causing damage to natural resources and infrastructure, the Climate Crisis is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action.”

The Climate Crisis and its weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to Kevin Stiroh, an executive vice president at the New York Fed who is responsible for bank regulation.

“Climate change has significant consequences for the US economy and financial sector through slowing productivity growth, asset revaluations and sectoral reallocations of business activity,” Stiroh said at the GARP Global Risk Forum in New York on Thursday.

In addition to causing severe damage to natural resource and infrastructure damage, global warming is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years. Stiroh said climate-related changes raised the potential for losses related to policy changes, consumer sentiment, and how technological innovations affect the value of certain assets and liabilities.

“These effects will be felt across business sectors and asset classes, and on the strategies, operations and balance sheets of financial firms,” Stiroh said.

Fed Chairman Jay Powell told Congress this year that while addressing climate change fell under the direction of other agencies, the central bank would “use its authorities and tools to prepare financial institutions for severe weather events.” Others in Washington have issued similar warnings.

In a more than 1,500-page report released in late 2018, scientists from 13 federal agencies predicted that climate change would slash gross domestic product …..if steps weren’t taken to reduce the carbon emissions that warm the planet.

The scientists said extreme weather would wreak havoc on growth through adverse effects on the healthcare system, infrastructure, supply chains, labor productivity, agriculture, tourism, power generation, and electricity costs.

“With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product of many US states,” the report said.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action” and called for a national tax on carbon.

But Climate denying Trump has steadily taken steps in the opposite direction. Over the past several years, the White House has taken steps to loosen environmental rules and shrugged off a series of landmark reports on climate change.

Edited From a story in Business Insider

S. Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas have canceled their Republican primaries because Trump is so scared

A frightened Trump flees stage at a campaign rally

We don’t like or even respect these three Republicans but in this instance, they are on the right side of history. They rightly see doom for their party if this continues.

Mark Sanford was governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011. Joe Walsh represented Illinois’s 8th Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. Bill Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. All three are seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Here is their opinion piece from the Washington Post:

The three of us are running for the Republican nomination for president in a race that will inevitably highlight differences among us on matters of policy, style and background. But we are brought together not by what divides us but by what unites us: a shared conviction that the United States needs a strong center-right party guided by basic values that are rooted in the best of the American spirit.

A president always defines his or her party, and today the Republican Party has taken a wrong turn, led by a serial self-promoter who has abandoned the bedrock principles of the GOP. In the Trump era, personal responsibility, fiscal sanity and rule of law have been overtaken by a preference for alienating our allies while embracing terrorists and dictators, attacking the free press and pitting everyday Americans against one another.

No surprise, then, that the latest disgrace, courtesy of Team Trump, is an effort to eliminate any threats to the president’s political power in 2020. Republicans have long held primaries and caucuses to bring out the best our party has to offer. Our political system assumes an incumbent president will make his case in front of voters to prove that he or she deserves to be nominated for a second term. But now, the Republican parties of four states — Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina — have canceled their nominating contests. By this design, the incumbent will be crowned the winner of these states’ primary delegates. There is little confusion about who has been pushing for this outcome.

What does this say about the Republican Party? If a party stands for nothing but reelection, it indeed stands for nothing. Our next nominee must compete in the marketplace of ideas, values and leadership. Each of us believes we can best lead the party. So does the incumbent. Let us each take our case to the public. The saying “may the best man win” is a quintessential value that the Republican Party must honor if we are to command the respect of the American people. Cowards run from fights. Warriors stand and fight for what they believe. The United States respects warriors. Only the weak fear competition.

Across the aisle, the Democratic primary challengers are still engaged in a heated competition of debates, caucuses and primaries to give their voters in every corner of our country a chance to select the best nominee. Do Republicans really want to be the party with a nominating process that more resembles Russia or China than our American tradition? Under this president, the meaning of truth has been challenged as never before. Under this president, the federal deficit has topped the $1 trillion mark. Do we as Republicans accept all this as inevitable? Are we to leave it to the Democrats to make the case for principles and values that, a few years ago, every Republican would have agreed formed the foundations of our party?

It would be a critical mistake to allow the Democratic Party to dominate the national conversation during the primary and caucus season. Millions of voters looking for a conservative alternative to the status quo deserve a chance to hear alternate ideas aired on the national stage. Let us argue over the best way to maximize opportunities in our communities for everyday Americans while the Democrats debate the merits of government intervention. Let us spend the next six months attempting to draw new voters to our party instead of demanding fealty to a preordained choice. If we believe our party represents the best hope for the United States’ future, let us take our message to the public and prove we are right.

Trump loyalists in the four states that have canceled their primaries and caucuses claim that President Trump will win by a landslide and that it is, therefore, a waste of money to invest in holding primaries or caucuses. But since when do we use poll numbers as our basis for deciding whether to give voters an opportunity to choose their leaders, much less their presidents? Answer: We don’t.

Besides, the litigation costs these four state parties will likely be forced to take on in defending legal challenges to the cancellations will almost certainly exceed the cost of holding the primaries and caucuses themselves.

In the United States, citizens choose their leaders. The primary nomination process is the only opportunity for Republicans to have a voice in deciding who will represent our party. Let those voices be heard.

By Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh and Bill Weld

 

 

This is life in the US with a reality TV star running the show

During Trump’s interview with NBC’s worm “both sides do it” Chuck Todd for Meet the Press, scheduled to be fully broadcast on Sunday, he said that if he declares war on Iran (surprise he can’t legally do that), it will mean “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” He almost immediately tried to qualify this by saying that “I’m not looking to do that” and that there were no pre-conditions on talks with Tehran. This is the same dumb script as his lame “fire and fury” North Korea TV drama.

Earlier this week, Trump was supposedly on the verge of launching a strike on Iran following the downing of a U.S. drone that the Pentagon claims was over international waters, but supposedly aborted the mission minutes before it was to be carried out. Ya right! (How can we believe anything coming from this criminal, he lies when he breathes)

Trump’s administration has been provoking Iran at every turn, including breaking the multilateral nuclear agreement with the country and declaring the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. Some members of Trump’s inner circle, particularly National Security Adviser and full-time warmonger John Bolton, have been itching for a military conflict with Iran. In recent weeks, however, Trump himself wants to have dinner with the Iranian leader.

Now even the conservative hawkish Wall Street Journal has scorched Trump for getting played by Iran in a brutal editorial. In a scathing column from the editors of the Journal, Trump received a dressing down for his aborted attack on Iran with the piece saying the Middle Eastern country “called his bluff” and he will come to regret it. The editors took idiot Trump to task for not only ordering an attack and changing his mind at the last minute — but for also for his lame attempt to lay the blame on the Pentagon.

“It’s important to understand how extraordinary this is. The Commander in Chief ordered ships and planes into battle but recalled them because he hadn’t asked in advance what the damage and casualties might be? While the planes were in the air, he asked, oh, by the way? This is hard to take at face value,” they wrote.

No shit, in our opinion this was no doubt another one Trumps stupid good cop bad cop negotiating ploys to get a sit-down meeting with the Iranians to try and bully and charm them simultaneously. That tactic will never work. Clearly, this imbecile has never done business with any Iranians. They don’t play like that.

US tax laws prop up frauds like “#Brokeahontas” while screwing over everyday taxpayers.

Bill Maher called Trump a “reverse billionaire” and said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) should call him “Brokeahontas.”

How the US tax laws prop up frauds like “#Brokeahontas” Donald Trump — while screwing over everyday taxpayers.

US Taxpayers have given “Brokeahontas.” more money than his daddy ever did

The New York Times disclosure that Donald Trump was able “to avoid paying income taxes” for years, while he racked up $1.17 billion in losses, tells you all you need to know about the American system of taxation that rewards risk, debt and speculation because it so completely insulates the greediest among us from the real world consequences of all three.
We know that our tax system taxes wages we earn at a much higher rate than the profits the rich earn off their investments. But it’s more perverse than that because it actually incentivizes the most predatory traits of vulture capitalism.

Getting Paid to be the fool

To be sure, over the years the plume of red ink coming out of the Trump corporate octopus has proven toxic for an army of small business owners and investors.
In Atlantic City, corporate entities tied to Trump filed for bankruptcy four times since 1990, allowing the companies to shed hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, but leaving a long list of businesses that did not get paid. The losers included small businesses and tradespeople.
Back in October 2015 when interviewed Trump for CBS MoneyWatch he was nonchalant about the human carnage of his Atlantic City serial bankruptcies. “That’s part of the process,” he said. “I wanted to use the bankruptcy law to my own advantage. Should I have used it to somebody else’s advantage? These people may have gotten clipped at the end, but they made a lot of money along the way with me.”

To dismantle this rigged system that rewards the rich and punishes everybody else we have to educate ourselves on its built-in features. It not just the rate of taxation, or the facility with which the wealthy can avoid taxation, but it’s also the behaviors that the tax system rewards.
James S. Henry an investigative economist-lawyer and a Global Justice Fellow at Yale University said,

“We had a lot of neo-conservative economists back in the 1980s and early 90s arguing that we should have lower taxes on capital than labor because that would encourage economic growth,” he said in a phone interview. “We basically went off on a binge during that whole period and I think Trump was on the scene making one bad investment after another.”
In commercial real estate, building owners benefit from a precept that buildings lose their value over time even though their actual cash value has grown, sometimes exponentially. That so-called ‘depreciation’ can be deducted from their taxes as well as the interest from the debt which moguls incur when they borrow, as they almost always do, to purchase multi-million-dollar properties.
They can further shelter their wealth and profits through forming trusts so they can pass along their fortune while greatly reducing, if not zeroing out, any possible tax liability.
“We have generous tax deductions and depreciation allowances and it is especially true in the case of the real estate industry where Trump is ensconced,” said Henry. “You have this combination of accelerated depreciation and interest deductibility which just encouraged everybody to go head over heels into highly leveraged real estate investments.”
He continued, “There’s a whole chapter to be written in the history of Trump and the role of the tax system in giving him a repeated rebirth.”

Brian Aryai, is the CEO of Icon Compliance Services and had a distinguished career as a Special Agent with the IRS. He says the Trump saga is emblematic of the“unfairness of the tax code, when as a business entity you can have massive losses year after year for tax purposes, while in reality, you are earning millions or billions.”
“Add to that shortcoming dwindling resources for enforcement, scarcity of audits, and you have a toxic formula for an extremely inequitable tax code,” Aryai wrote in an email. “We only have our legislators to blame for creating this mess, where the average worker on a W-2 wage pays a higher rate than the fat cats flying to their favorite vacation spots on private planes . . . . Finally, powerful and well-funded lobbying forces maintain the status quo and keep our legislators in check to prevent corrective action.”
But it is not just the Federal tax code that was made even more favorable for the Donald Trumps of the world by the GOP 2017 re-write.
Local governments control zoning which determines what can be built and where. That, in turn, determines the potential value of the real estate. The denser and more commercial the use usually the higher the value of the land.

Nowhere are the zoning stakes higher than in New York City where international capital sees real estate investments as one of the world’s safest investments.
James Parrott, the Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs says, even as the city struggles to build affordable housing, it makes developers like Donald Trump even wealthier overnight by “up-zoning” their real estate but the public gets no cut in the action.
“in most of the re-zonings the City does it involves up-zoning that permits a denser scale of development or permits commercial where manufacturing or residential had only been permitted before,” Parrott said. “That has the potential in most cases to tremendously increase the value of that land and all of that accrues to the developers.”
He continued, “So, New York City, especially in the last 15 years has had a lot of real estate development and rezoning and the city has tremendously, through its actions, bolstered the incomes of the billionaire real estate developers . . . . and Donald Trump benefited from that when he was active in that area but he certainly was not alone.”
“Why can’t you think of a mechanism that would allow the city to capture some of that appreciation in land value?” asked Parrott. “The city has not done that of course because the real estate investors write the rules.”

To get a sense of how the gears of this oppressive mill of injustice grind contrast how we treat the millions of Americans behind in their student loans with the likes of Donald Trump.
Americans can’t escape the indenture of their student loans because they can’t discharge them through bankruptcy. But that same bankruptcy code enabled Trump to repeatedly escape the consequences of his bad business bets and behavior.
There, in a nutshell, is what’s so upside down about this country. Our system uses student debt as social control for millions who tried to invest in themselves, but it extends carte blanche to a snake oil salesman like Donald Trump who was never been given a reason to learn impulse control.

from Raw Story and Bob Hennelly at Salon