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Trump's porn star and government shutdown: Darcy cartoon

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#1 grog

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 01:13 PM

Trump's porn star and government shutdown: Darcy cartoon
 
 
 
 
 
 
January 21, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Wall Street Journal reports that a month before the 2016 election, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen arranged to pay porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in "hush money" to deny having an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, after he had married Melania Trump
 
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"Stable Genius" and master of "The Art of the Deal" Donald Trump could make a deal to keep a porn star's mouth shut, but he couldn't make a deal to keep the U.S. Government he leads from shutting down.
 
The Wall Street Journal has reported that a month before the 2016 election, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, set up Delaware shell company to pay porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money  to deny having an affair with Trump in 2006, when he was married to Melania and she was pregnant with their son, Baron.
 
If any other evangelical-supported presidential nominee had paid hush money to a porn star, just before the election, it would have cost him the presidency.  If such a story had come out about any other sitting president, it would have been a major scandal, dominating the news.  But with Trump, it's just a passing shower, barely showing up on radar, not a storm.
 
Follow the money.
 
The reason the Stormy Daniels story is worth paying attention to is the money aspect.   As with the Russian investigation, it's important to follow the money, and what payment of that money says about Trump's vulnerability to be compromised.
 
Based on what the Wall Street Journal has reported, Trump's lawyer took great effort to try and cloak the payment to Daniels.   Yet to be uncovered and reported, is who and what was the source of the payment, and how many other women may have been paid.   Did the money come from Cohen, Trump or bible-thumping Trump campaign donors?
 
The Stormy Daniels story also gives further credence to the Dossier reports that Trump may have been compromised by the Russians, either as the result of sexual escapades or financial deals.   The alleged payoff to Daniels shows Trump is vulnerable to being compromised and willing to do what it takes to prevent being found out.
 
Stormy Government Shutdown.
 
"Stormy" is how you might expect First Lady Melania Trump would react to news of her husband paying hush money to a porn star.   Stormy is also likely an apt description of  Sens Graham, Schumer and Durbin's current relationship with Trump, Stephen Miller, John Kelly and Sen. Tom Cotton.
 
It's unlikely "Schumer Shutdown" moniker will be as effective for Trump as "Crooked Hillary" was. 
 
Many Americans don't even know who Sen. Chuck Schumer is.   But they do know Donald Trump is president and Schumer is not.   They know they voted for Trump, in large part, because they thought he was a master at making deals.
 
In 2013, Trump told Fox News the president alone is responsible for any shutdown.
 
"Problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top and the president's the leader. And he's got to get everybody in a room and he's got to lead.
 
When they (historians) talk about the government shutdown, they're going to be talking about the president of the United States, who the president was at the time.
 
They're not going to be talking about who was the head of the House, the head of the Senate, who's running things in Washington.
 
So I really think the pressure is on the president."
 
Senate leaders have good reason to doubt if they have a negotiating partner they can trust in the Trump administration.
 
Twice, Senate leaders thought they had reached a deal with Trump only to see him reverse himself.
 
First Graham and Durbin thought Trump had agreed to the outlines of a bipartisan deal, only to have Stephen Miller and John Kelly sabotage it with help from Sen Tom Cotton.
 
At Trump's invitation, Schumer went to the White House, and like Graham and Durbin before, thought Trump had agreed to the outlines of a deal, which included Democrats support for the wall, only to have Trump backtrack again, hours later.
 
Republican, Democrat and White House extremists shutdown needed.
 
The government shutdown will not benefit Republicans, Democrats or the Trump administration, it's a failure of leadership of all for giving into the extremists in their wings.
 
The Republican leadership has failed to stand up to the far-right in their ranks.  Democrat leadership is giving sway to the far-left.   Trump has reneged on two bipartisan deals because of the interference of his hard-right staffers like Stephen Miller.   Extremists on the right and left in congress and the White House make compromise impossible.  
 
Given how Trump's first year has played out, it seems almost fitting it finishes with a government shutdown.
 
Will Trump's second anniversary be marked by a shutdown of his presidency by the midterm elections and Mueller investigation?
 
 
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#2 grog

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 02:55 PM

Trump is proposing the "nuclear option" on the government shutdown. It makes no sense.
 
7 thoughts about Trump's suggestion to change Senate rules to avert shutdown.
 
 
 
 
 
Jan 21, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
It's the second day of the government shutdown and President Donald Trump is already pushing the "nuclear option." In this case, an option that probably wouldn't solve anything.
 
Over Twitter Sunday morning, Trump advised Republican leaders to make a historic change to Senate rules, and pass a partisan government spending bill with only 51 votes. A spending bill has always needed 60 votes to pass the Senate, which, given the makeup of the current Congress, requires bipartisan support.
 
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Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.'s!
 
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2018
 
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The government spending deadline elapsed at midnight Friday, and Democrats and Republicans are still deep in a standoff over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump has promised to sunset fully by March 5.
 
Frustrated with Trump's inability to keep to his word on immigration negotiations, Democrats walked away from a short-term government spending bill that would have kept the government open for four more weeks and funded the Children's Health Insurance program for six years - something that Democrats have been calling for since the programs funding lapsed last October - because it did not include a path forward on DACA.
 
A few thoughts on Trump's nuclear proposal:
 
On Friday, the four-week spending bill failed with both Democrats and Republican defections. Four Republicans voted against the proposal. It's not even clear at this point if a partisan spending bill could pass the Senate.
 
Not to mention that Trump is suggesting Congress pass a permanent spending package - the legislative language for which doesn't even exist.
 
The only proposal currently on the table is a Republican offer to shorten the short-term spending bill to three weeks instead of four, heeding to only part of Democratic demands. That counter would not include any agreement on immigration, or fund CHIP.
 
There is no push from anyone in either chamber to put forward a major bill, instead of buying time to negotiate with a stop-gap. Given all the barriers involved - from writing a package, to getting support for it, there's simply no way a big spending deal would get done faster and reopen the government sooner.
 
By Saturday night negotiations on both immigration and to reopen the government still hadn't progressed. Senators left the Hill after another late night with little to show for it.
 
Sunday at 1 p.m. they return. Majority Leader McConnell has scheduled a vote on a new spending plan by 1 a.m. Monday morning, or sooner. It's still not clear what the Senate will vote on then.
 
At this point, negotiations need to slide toward common ground. But instead, Trump has again escalated partisan rancor. If taken up, his latest "nuclear" suggestion would indicate not only the ultimate failure in negotiation, but fundamentally alter the way the country is governed. It probably wouldn't even work.
 
 
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#3 grog

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 03:17 PM

Donald Trump's horizontal jogging with a porn star might see Melania Trump jog on from their marriage
 
 
 
 
January 21, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
Following the recent revelations about Donald Trump paying hush money to the porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their reputed affair, the marriage of Donald and Melania Trump has come under scrutiny. If you have no ethical or moral qualms about betting on the divorce of a couple then you might be interested in the above betting markets from Paddy Power.
 
The bet on Trump remarrying by the 8th of November this year seems very unappealing, I'm not sure of the logistics of it all, but Donald Trump getting a divorce and remarrying someone in less than ten months time is a very long shot, I'd want around 500/1, not the 50/1 Paddy Power are offering.
 
The ones that tempt me are Donald Trump getting married for a fourth time during his Presidency looks appealing for a serial marriage enthusiast like Donald Trump, who clearly enjoys taking women up the aisle.
 
Similarly the 16/1 on Melania Trump on leaving Trump and filing for divorce before the 8th of November looks tempting, I'd stake more but for Paddy Power's time constraints, it would have looked very tempting if it had been extended to Trump's first term.
 
Consequently the 8/1 on Melania Trump living with another man during Trump's first term might be a better bet of the two, she like most people sees Donald Trump's behaviour akin to a disposable feminine hygiene product that one might use on a summer's eve, and the bag it came in.
 
 
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#4 Zharkov

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 03:24 PM

Maybe the "Nuclear Option" isn't about the number of votes?


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#5 Ivan88

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 10:21 PM

Why does anyone care if he paid off a girlfriend? It's basically nothing.

But some folks want to get real excited about it while totally ignoring US war schemes in Syria, Ukraine, North Africa, Korea & other countries.

Tormenting, maiming and killing millions is not a problem, but a girl friend is a terrible sin.


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#6 RobertD

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 11:16 PM

Nothing like the Clinton's suicide list....
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#7 Ivan88

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 12:17 AM

Shit head French cops burn people to death for not appreciating their harrassment

https://www.rt.com/n...-teargas-taser/

Not much different than US politicians, except US politicians burn millions to death with   napalm, white Phosphorous, high explosives.

US officials love bombing weddings and torturinjg prisoners too too.


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#8 John Prewett

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 12:04 PM

S9N87zz.png


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#9 grog

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 05:49 PM

Pence calls reported affair between Trump and porn star 'baseless allegations'
 
 
 
 
01/22/2018
 
 
 
 
Vice President Mike Pence says reports that an adult film star had an alleged affair with President Donald Trump are "baseless allegations."
 
Pence spoke to The Associated Press during a visit to Jerusalem on Monday. He said he was "not going to comment on the latest baseless allegations against the president."
 
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump's personal lawyer brokered a payment to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to prohibit her from publicly discussing the alleged affair before the presidential election.
 
Daniels' real name is Stephanie Clifford. Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, has denied there was any relationship. He gave the Journal a statement from "Stormy Daniels" denying receiving "hush money."
 
The AP reported that a tabloid magazine held back from publishing her 2011 account of the alleged affair after Cohen threatened to sue.
 
 
 
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#10 grog

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 11:03 AM

Davos latest: Melania Trump 'will not attend World Economic Forum with President due to scheduling issues'
 
 
 
 
 
January 23, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
Melania Trump will not accompany President Trump on his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos later this week, it has emerged.
 
The First Lady of the US was due to travel with her husband to the annual conference, where the President is due to make an address to world leaders.
 
But, according to CNN, she has changed her plans due to "scheduling and logistical issues".
 
Mrs Trump's communications director Stephanie Grisham previously announced the First Lady would be attending the event to support the President.
 
But Ms Grisham confirmed to the US news site that her plans had now changed.
 
The President's attendance in Davos looked likely to go ahead today after a halt to the US government shutdown. 
 
Congress voted through a funding bill on Monday evening meaning the President could press ahead with plans to travel to the event in the Swiss Alps later in the week.
 
Mr Trump tweeted: "Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown. Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!"
 
He is due to make a speech on the final day of the conference on Friday. 
 
UK and US emphasise 'special relationship' despite rumours of friction
 
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump's high profile delegation was due to leave ahead of him on Tuesday. 
 
Mrs Trump spent the weekend at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where her husband was celebrating his first year in office, but she was not pictured with him at either of his celebratory dinners.
 
She marked the one-year anniversary by tweeting an image of herself, her arm linked with a military escort, at Trump's inaugural swearing-in ceremony, saying the past year had been filled with "many wonderful moments".
 
The President has been recently dogged by reports, published in January, that his lawyer paid off porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 to cover up an affair. The affair was alleged to have taken place when during his marriage to Mrs Trump.
 
The Wall Street Journal claimed Trump's lawyer paid the star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that she would keep quiet about the liaison.
 
The President's lawyer has denied these allegations, branding them "completely untrue".
 
 
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#11 grog

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 11:03 AM

Davos latest: Melania Trump 'will not attend World Economic Forum with President due to scheduling issues'
 
 
 
 
 
January 23, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
Melania Trump will not accompany President Trump on his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos later this week, it has emerged.
 
The First Lady of the US was due to travel with her husband to the annual conference, where the President is due to make an address to world leaders.
 
But, according to CNN, she has changed her plans due to "scheduling and logistical issues".
 
Mrs Trump's communications director Stephanie Grisham previously announced the First Lady would be attending the event to support the President.
 
But Ms Grisham confirmed to the US news site that her plans had now changed.
 
The President's attendance in Davos looked likely to go ahead today after a halt to the US government shutdown. 
 
Congress voted through a funding bill on Monday evening meaning the President could press ahead with plans to travel to the event in the Swiss Alps later in the week.
 
Mr Trump tweeted: "Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown. Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!"
 
He is due to make a speech on the final day of the conference on Friday. 
 
UK and US emphasise 'special relationship' despite rumours of friction
 
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump's high profile delegation was due to leave ahead of him on Tuesday. 
 
Mrs Trump spent the weekend at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where her husband was celebrating his first year in office, but she was not pictured with him at either of his celebratory dinners.
 
She marked the one-year anniversary by tweeting an image of herself, her arm linked with a military escort, at Trump's inaugural swearing-in ceremony, saying the past year had been filled with "many wonderful moments".
 
The President has been recently dogged by reports, published in January, that his lawyer paid off porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 to cover up an affair. The affair was alleged to have taken place when during his marriage to Mrs Trump.
 
The Wall Street Journal claimed Trump's lawyer paid the star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that she would keep quiet about the liaison.
 
The President's lawyer has denied these allegations, branding them "completely untrue".
 
 
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#12 grog

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 11:39 AM

Trump's porn-star payoff may have been illegal: Will it matter?
 
Common Cause wants to know whether Trump's alleged payment to Stormy Daniels violated campaign finance laws
 
 
 
 
 
01.23.2018
 
 
 
 
 
Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a porn actress who works under the name Stormy Daniels (her real name is Stephanie Clifford) received $130,000 of hush money from Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. Most of the press coverage understandably focused on the most titillating or ridiculous aspects of the story, such as Daniels' claim that during their 2006 encounter she spanked Trump with a copy of Forbes that featured him and his children on the cover. But the story may have legs beyond another round of hand-wringing about how Trump manages to evade accountability for behavior that would sink any other politician. There's a good chance that Trump and his minions broke the law in order to cover up the sleaze-in-chief's adulterous activities.
 
On Monday, the ethics watchdog group Common Cause filed complaints with both the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), asking for an investigation into Trump and his campaign for potential violations of campaign finance law regarding this alleged hush-money payoff. Common Cause argues there's good reason to believe that the campaign violated multiple laws in funneling money to Daniels in hopes of buying her silence.
 
"The campaign failed to report the $130,000 payment out as an expenditure and it failed to report the source of the $130,000 as an in-kind contribution into the committee," Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause vice president for policy and litigation, told Salon. "Both are violations of federal campaign finance law disclosure requirements." (No, this Paul Ryan is not related to the speaker of the House.)
 
"We've already seen the complete disregard for good government and ethics laws by the Trump campaign and administration," Anne Feldman, the press secretary for End Citizens United, said when asked about the complaint. "This attempt to cover up an embarrassing and politically damaging story appears to be the latest example of Donald Trump skirting election laws."
 
Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, apparently paid Daniels off by setting up a shell corporation called Essential Consultants LLC, apparently for the sole purpose of handling this bribe. Even though Cohen used this method to work outside the campaign itself, Ryan argued, the money "was a payment for the purpose for influencing the 2016 presidential election" and therefore the Trump campaign was required to report it as a campaign expenditure. Failure to do so could constitute a violation of campaign finance law and could even be a crime, particularly if Trump or his campaign deliberately hid the expenditure from the FEC. 
 
An even more interesting question is where that money came from. As Ryan pointed out, it's not just that failure to report the source itself could constitute a violation of the law. The donation itself could be illegal, depending upon its source. If Trump paid the hush money directly from his own pocket, that's not illegal - candidates have a legal right to spend as much of their own money as they wish running for federal office. But if that money came from the Trump Organization or a third party, that could violate laws preventing corporate donations or donations exceeding strict individual limits to campaigns.
 
"Our campaign finance laws exist to ensure transparency for the American people, who deserve to know if Trump paid out hush money to keep Stormy Daniels from talking about this relationship, or if an outside benefactor made an illegal in-kind contribution to keep her quiet," Feldman argued.
 
The good news is that there's precedent for exactly this situation. In 2011, John Edwards was indicted on six counts after the DOJ charged that he deliberately tried to evade campaign finance laws by imploring two of his wealthy supporters to pay nearly $1 million to Rielle Hunter, in order to conceal Edwards' affair with Hunter during the early days of his ill-fated 2008 presidential campaign.
 
"We will not permit candidates for high office to abuse their special ability to access the coffers of their political supporters to circumvent our election laws," said assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer at the time.
 
(Full disclosure: I was interviewed by the FBI about this, as I briefly worked for the Edwards campaign. It was an uneventful interview, since I didn't know anything about the affair or the payments.)
 
The Edwards trial ended in one acquittal and mistrials on five other counts, but the whole situation demonstrates that the DOJ, at the very least, does indeed consider hush money paid through outside channels to cover up personal indiscretions as campaign donations. That should make it more difficult for either the FEC or the DOJ to simply brush off the complaint from Common Cause.
 
The FEC has a legal obligation to vote on whether or not to open an investigation into Trump in response to this complaint. If it fails to open an investigation, Common Cause would then have a legal right to sue. But the hope is that the federal government acts consistently with its approach to the Edwards investigation. If the FEC opens an investigation, all evidence gathered will eventually be made available to the public, so even if Trump faces no legal penalties, the public will potentially find out more about where the $130,000 to pay Daniels off came from.
 
 
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#13 grog

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 12:06 PM

President's Porn Star Pal Breaks Her Silence
 
 
 
 
 
 
January 24, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  -  Stormy Daniels has broken her silence.
 
She is the president's alleged former porn-star mistress. The two supposedly dallied with each other in 2006 just four months after wife Melania Trump gave birth to son Barron.
 
Daniels gave an exclusive interview with "Inside Edition" correspondent Jim Moret on Wednesday.
 
The show teased the first part of the interview and promised the complete interview Thursday.
 
Daniels first caught the eye of the cable TV news and tabloid world several weeks ago when it was reported the president's longtime attorney had paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money in October 2016, weeks before the presidential election.
 
Daniels, it turns out, had already given several interviews about the purported dalliance with then-businessman Trump. He has denied in the past they had a sexual relationship.
 
She's now 38 and lives in a small town in Texas.
 
KCAL9's Peter Daut reported, "her name is Stormy and that's very fitting since she's the center of a political firestorm."
 
RELATED LINK: Report-Porn Star Says Trump Asked Her To Spank Him With Forbes Magazine
 
There's been speculation that the first lady canceled her trip to Davos, Switzerland, with the president because of the firestorm. The official word was she canceled because of "scheduling conflicts."
 
stormy daniels1 Presidents Porn Star Pal Breaks Her Silence
 
(credit: CBS)
 
"I'm not ashamed of my career," Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, told Moret.
 
The "Inside Edition" reporter asked if she expected to turn on CNN, FOX or MSNBC and see herself being talked about in the same sentence as the president?
 
"No," she said coyly. "Does anyone?"
 
She implied it's all much ado about nothing.
 
"I have a strangely normal life." she said. "I live in a very small town outside of Dallas so this is like crazy. No one ever looked twice at me before, and now suddenly everyone's looking at me, and that's definitely not what I wanted."
 
Daniels said the past 10 days have been no picnic.
 
"Intense, insane, entertaining, and surprising," she said.
 
The full interview airs on "Inside Edition" Thursday night at 7 on CBS2.
 
 
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#14 grog

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 12:31 PM

Seth Meyers Rips Christian Right for Forgiving Trump on Stormy Daniels
 
 
'Imagine if Obama or Hillary Clinton had potentially violated federal campaign-finance law by paying hush money to a porn star.'
 
 
 
 
 
 
01.25.18
 
 
 
 
 
 
Two weeks after the story first broke, Seth Meyers still can't believe that more people aren't talking about the $130,000 that President Donald Trump's lawyer allegedly paid porn star Stormy Daniels to keep their apparent 2006 affair a secret.
 
But the aspect of this saga that seems to bug the Late Night host the most is the fact the Trump's evangelical base-"those self-proclaimed defenders of morality"-couldn't care less. This week, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins addressed the scandal by saying that Christian conservatives were willing to give Trump a "mulligan" on his indiscretions.
 
"Ah yes," Meyers said, "it's just like Jesus said to the apostles when they found him in a strip club: 'Bros, I'm gonna need a mulligan on this one.'"
 
"Why are evangelical voters overwhelmingly sticking with Trump despite his apparent contempt for the values they claim to believe in?" Meyers asked. According to Perkins, it's because, unlike Barack Obama, Trump is "willing to punch the bully." When a reporter asked him, "What happened to turning the other cheek?" Perkins replied, "Well, you only have two cheeks."
 
"Technically, you have four cheeks," Meyers corrected him, before alluding to Trump's alleged fetish that involved getting spanked by a copy of Forbes with his face on the cover. "Two on your face and then the magazine catchers on the back."
 
In addition to Perkins, Trump was defended this week by Matt Schlapp, the president of the American Conservative Union, who dismissed the story about Stormy Daniels because some of the details were reported by the tabloid InTouch.
 
"I guess it's not surprising that Matt Schlapp would defend Trump," Meyers said. "He's apparently such a Trump fan that he changed his last name to the sound a Forbes magazine makes when it hits Trump's ass."  
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RELATED IN ENTERTAINMENT
 
'Late Night' host Seth Meyers disgusted by Donald Trump's Stormy Daniels affair.
 
Seth Meyers Disgusted by Trump's Stormy Daniels Affair
 
SNL Celebrates American 'Hero' Stormy Daniels
 
'The Late Show' host Stephen Colbert takes on porn star Stormy Daniels' alleged affair with Donald Trump.
 
Colbert: Of Course Stormy Daniels Denies Sex With Trump
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Meyers ended his segment by proposing a simple hypothetical. "Imagine if Obama or Hillary Clinton had potentially violated federal campaign-finance law by paying hush money to a porn star," he said. "The right would have lost their mind. But the same people who declare themselves the defenders of family values and the rule of law for the last eight years don't seem to care about the fact that the president asked a porn star to give him a good ol' 'Schlapp.'"
 
 
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#15 grog

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 05:38 PM

The Stormy Daniels Presidency
 
 
 
 
February 2, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
Well before The Wall Street Journal reported that a porn star with the meteorological name of Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about sex with Donald Trump, it was clear that a bigger and more crass proposition would be emerging from the White House.
 
Going into the midterm elections, Trump is offering this deal to his supporters: Say nothing about the lies, the bullying, the accusations of sexual misconduct from more than a dozen women, the undermining of the rule of law, the abdication of basic decency - and in turn he will make you rich.
 
Essentially, it's a payoff. Trump himself has framed it this way. When asked about his coming health exam last month, he said, "It better go well, otherwise the stock market will not be happy." He used the same phrase when talking about his hard-line position on immigration.
 
Both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton oversaw spectacular gains in the stock market - among the best in history. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 227 percent during Clinton's eight years and 149 percent under Obama.
 
Yet, neither of those men held the market out as hostage to a backward agenda and a deranged personality. Trump is running a bottom-line presidency - as soulless as a Kremlin bot on Facebook - in which people who know better are asked to stay quiet in exchange for a short-term payoff.
 
Modern presidents, dating at least to Ronald Reagan, have urged voters to ask one question going into pivotal elections: Are you better off than you were before? It's a reasonable standard. But it has never been the leverage for allowing a democracy to collapse.
 
You heard some uplifting words during the State of the Union address, words with all the staying power of vapor from a sewage vent. But a more honest assessment of what this presidency represents came from Trump when he was in his element, surrounded by Mar-a-Lago cronies. "You all just got a lot richer," he told a bejeweled and pink-faced crowd just a few hours after signing the $1.5 trillion tax cut in December.
 
Even as Trump spoke before Congress on Tuesday, he monetized the speech, with donors paying to have their name live-streamed across a Trump campaign web page.
 
A cartoon in Politico showed a naked Trump with a king's crown and a golf club walking down a red carpet. "I know, I know," one man says to another. "Just keep thinking about your stock portfolio."
 
The question for those yet to join the enablers is: What's the price - a record stock market in which 10 percent of Americans own 84 percent of the market wealth, a tax cut that burdens the working poor in years to come - for saying nothing?
 
Evangelical Christians were among the first to sign on to a Stormy Daniels proposition. In the infamous words of Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, Trump gets a "do-over" for the infidelity allegation. Yes, because nothing says family values like a thrice-married man who allegedly cheats on his latest wife just after she gives birth to their son. And Pat Robertson, the mush-headed moralist who still fogs up many a television screen with his gaseous utterances, told Trump last summer, "I'm so proud of everything you're doing."
 
For these self-appointed guardians of the soul, the bargain is bigger than 30 pieces of silver: It's a promise that Trump will continue to protect their tax-exempt empires, in the name of religious freedom.
 
For Republicans in Congress, the pact is more consequential. They will ignore the pleadings of career law enforcement officials in order to stoke fantasies of a deep-state coup against the president. These politicians are counting on a base that will look the other way as they undermine Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian tampering with the election.
 
It's a good bet. After Trump called the American justice system "a joke" and "a laughingstock," after he fired the F.B.I. director because he would not pledge loyalty to him, after he told another top lawman that his wife was "a loser," after he referred to members of the intelligence community as "political hacks," it was all quiet on the Republican front.
 
He can falsely say that his State of the Union speech drew the highest audience in history - in fact, it ranked ninth since 1993 - because this president has told more than 2,000 lies in a year and hasn't been called out for them by the people who signed on to silence.
 
But what happens if the bargain crumbles? What if the market tanks - as the Dow did in losing more than 500 points a few days ago? Do the sycophants bail? Or do they hold out for something more - like the lobbyists now drafting legislation and gutting regulations that affect the companies that pay them?
 
Beware, those of you who have made your deal with the Stormy Daniels presidency. You can take your settlement money - as the people who signed up for the fraudulent Trump University did - but you still got suckered.
 
 
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#16 Ivan88

Ivan88

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 02:46 AM

Since President Trump has given Himself over to believing false testimony to bomb Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan etc. and killing many innocent people, why should He object to false testimony against Himself?


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