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This is the truth lurking behind the GOP’s frantic fear-mongering about socialism

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- Commentary

“We renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump said recently.

Someone should alert him that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it’s socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism.

In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. This pretty much describes General Motors’ receipt of $600 million in federal contracts, plus $500 million in tax breaks, since Trump took office.

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Some of this corporate welfare has gone into the pockets of GM executives. Chairman and CEO Mary Barra raked in almost $22 million in total compensation in 2017 alone.

But GM employees are subject to harsh capitalism. GM is planning to lay off more than 14,000 workers and close three assembly plants and two component factories in North America by the end of 2019.

The nation’s largest banks saved $21 billion last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, thousands of lower-level bank employees got a big dose of harsh capitalism. They lost their jobs.

Banks that are too big to fail – courtesy of the 2008 bank bailout – enjoy a hidden subsidy of some $83 billion a year because they have the backing of the federal government. This hidden subsidy gives Wall Street, giant banks a huge advantage.

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In 2017, Wall Street’s bonus pool was $31.4 billion. So, take away the hidden subsidy, and that bonus pool disappears, along with most profits. Trump and his appointees at the Federal Reserve are easing bank requirements put in place after the bailout. But they will make sure the biggest banks remain too big to fail.

When he was in business, Trump perfected the art of using bankruptcy to shield himself from the consequences of bad decisions– socialism for the rich at its worst –while leaving employees twisting in the wind. Now, all over America, executives who run their companies into the ground are getting gold-plated exit packages while their workers get pink slips.

Under socialism for the rich, you can screw up big time and still reap big rewards. Equifax’s Richard Smith retired in 2017 with an $18 million pension in the wake of a security breach that exposed the personal information of 145 million customers to hackers.

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Wells Fargo’s Carrie Tolstedt departed with a $125 million exit package after being in charge of the unit that opened more than 2 million unauthorized customer accounts.

Whatever happened to the idea of a meritocracy  – an economic system that allows everyone to get ahead through hard work, and economic gains go only to those who deserve them?

Around 60 percent of America’s wealth is now inherited. Many of today’s super-rich have never done a day’s work in their lives. Trump’s response has been to expand this divide by cutting the estate tax to apply only to estates valued at over $22 million per coupleMitch McConnell is now proposing that the estate tax be repealed altogether.

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To the conservative mind, the specter of socialism conjures up a society in which no one is held accountable, and no one has to work for what they receive. Yet, that’s exactly the society Trump and the Republicans are promoting for the rich.

Meanwhile, most Americans are subject to an increasingly harsh and arbitrary capitalism.

They need stronger safety nets, and they deserve a bigger piece of the economic pie.

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If you want to call this socialism, fine. I call it fair.


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Mulvaney held up missiles to Ukraine out of fear Russia would be angry: State Department official

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Among the many revelations in the transcript of Ukraine Special Adviser Catherine Croft's testimony to the House is the fact that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who also oversees the Office of Management and Budget, put a hold on a shipment of Javelin missiles to Ukraine not just as part of an apparent scheme to force Ukrainian officials to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, but also out of concern that Russia would be angry.

"In a briefing with Mr. Mulvaney, the question centered around the Russian reaction," said Croft in the transcript. When pressed, she added the fear was specifically "that Russia would react negatively to the provision of javelins to Ukraine."

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READ IT: Foreign service officer Christopher Anderson testimony to House Intelligence Committee on impeachment

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Foreign service officer Christopher Anderson served as the deputy to former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. When he spoke to the House Intelligence Committee, he revealed what he witnessed when President Donald Trump made the July 25 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Anderson joined colleague Catherine Croft in testifying to the House and both of their testimonies were released Monday, just days ahead of the open hearings are scheduled to begin.

Anderson specifically revealed that Trump's anti-corruption defense was revealed to be false. You can read his testimony in the document embedded below:

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Trump’s anti-corruption defense blown away by State Department official in newly released testimony

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President Donald Trump's contention that his efforts to get dirt on the family of former Vice President Joe Biden were part of an anti-corruption focus was undermined by testimony that was released by Congress on Monday.

The testimony was released by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), the acting chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

“Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, both advisors to Ambassador Kurt Volker on Ukraine policy, testified before the Committees about concerns they had with efforts to press Ukraine into announcing specific investigations which would help President Trump politically," the three chairpeople said in a joint statement. "Ms. Croft also testified that Ukrainian officials approached her quietly about the hold on security assistance in the July or August timeframe, before the hold had been made public.”

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