Trump’s Porn Star Affair

According to a magazine interview from 2011, adult film actress Stormy Daniels had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006. Celebrity gossip magazine InTouch just published a 7-year-old interview in which Miss Daniels claims the relationship started at a July 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

The not-published interview recently came to light after The Wall Street Journal reported Miss Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen reportedly negotiated a nondisclosure agreement “that precluded [Miss Daniels] from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.”

The alleged affair took place after the now infamous Access Hollywood Billy Bush interview . Mr. Trump’s third wife, Melania Trump, had given birth to their son Barron 4 months earlier.

https://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2018/01/stormy-daniels-donald-trump-allegedly-banged-porn-star-payed-for/

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/11/5/1591569/-Stormy-Daniels-did-Donald-Trump

https://patch.com/missouri/wentzville/s/gc3gx/porn-star-stormy-daniels-planned-trump-tell-all-in-2016-report

It doesn’t matter if the candidate is a sexual predator, serial adulterer, or a pedophile, the Republican Party will support anyone who moves their nihilistic economic agenda forward.

And if there is even a sliver of chance to legally discriminate against minorities and gays, the Republican base will consistently vote against their own class interests.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/455526/donald-trump-porn-star-affair-jerry-falwell-christian-conservatives

https://www.vox.com/2017/10/4/16346800/donald-trump-christian-right-conservative-clinton

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fake-christians-trump-and-conservatives_us_5979f0b9e4b06b305561ce68

They oppose equal rights. They oppose equal pay. They oppose consumer protections. They oppose protecting the environment. They oppose same-sex marriage. They oppose sensible gun control. They oppose a reasonable minimum wage. They oppose science.

The Republican Party literally stands for nothing.

Fusion GPS House Transcripts Withheld

Representative Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is pressing Republicans to release transcripts of testimony connected to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The committee panel interviewed Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson in November 2017, but information collected during that interview hasn’t been made public. Fusion GPS is the opposition research firm responsible for the Trump-Russia dossier, a 35-page report alleging collusion between members of President Trump’s campaign team and the Russian government.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/devin-nunes-is-under-mounting-pressure-to-release-the-transcript-of-a-house-intel-interview-with-fusion-gps/ar-AAuK6ps?ocid=ob-fb-enus-580

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/29/15096442/house-intelligence-committee-devin-nunes-trump-wiretapping-obama

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/06/devin-nunes-temporarily-steps-aside-russian-meddling-probe/100115228/

Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican who chairs the Intelligence Committee, must agree to release the transcripts. That doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. Mr. Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter, has been accused of using his position as committee chair to protect the President.

Trump-Russia Dossier Notes

This article is a crash course on the Trump-Russia dossier, which details efforts by the Vladimir Putin’s government to cultivate a relationship with Mr. Trump 2016 presidential campaign. The dossier’s veracity is currently under investigation by several government organizations, including the Senate Judiciary Committee.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-republicans-russia-investigations_us_5a56303de4b0b117f88153e4?utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&utm_source=politics_fb&utm_medium=facebook&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&section=politics

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/950897678640132096.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-blasts-sneaky-dianne-feinstein-says-release-of-testimony-was-possibly-illegal/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7b&linkId=46804034

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kenbensinger/these-reports-allege-trump-has-deep-ties-to-russia?utm_term=.isqjv2Jv9#.njO93vw3W

The dossier was commissioned by Fusion GPS and written by former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele. Allegations made in the 35-page dossier are that Russian operatives hacked Democratic e-mails and the Russians paid members of Mr. Trump’s campaign. There may also be tapes of Mr. Trump engaged in unsavory sexual activities during a 2011 visit to Moscow.

Joe Arpaio Running for Arizona Senate Seat

Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio just announced he is running for Senate in 2018.  Mr. Arpaio, known for his “tough” stances on immigration and border security while serving as Maricopa County sheriff, was an ardent supporter of Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential Election.

“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” Arpaio, 85, told The Washington Examiner in an interview published Tuesday. “I’m going to have to work hard; you don’t take anything for granted. But I would not [be] doing this if I thought that I could not win. I’m not here to get my name in the paper, I get that everyday, anyway.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/368083-arpaio-announces-arizona-senate-bid

https://www.vox.com/2018/1/9/16868538/arpaio-senate-pardon-conviction

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/joe-arpaio-running-senate-arizona_us_5a54e860e4b01e1a4b1a069d

During his tenure as Maricopa County sheriff, Mr. Arpaio was constantly mired in controversy. For instance, his practice of housing inmates in tents  and conducting immigration sweeps drew widespread condemnation. He also conducted a 6-month investigation into the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate. Despite overwhelming proof to the contrary, Mr. Arpaio declared it a fake.

In 2011, the Justice Department reported the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office engaged in systematic racial profiling of Latinos. An injunction was issued forbidding the arrest or detention of anyone on the basis of suspected immigration status. Mr. Arpaio failed to comply with that injunction, and in August 2017 was convicted of criminal contempt. President Trump pardoned Mr. Arpaio, who served no jail time.

Mr. Arpaio is running to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Arizona hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1988. In the 2016 presidential election, Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 4 points.

Trump Cuts Aid to Pakistan

The Trump Administration is withholding 255 million dollars in economic and military assistance slated for Pakistan.  Mr. Trump accuses Pakistan, once considered a partner in the War on Terror, of providing aid to/and harboring terrorists.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump tweeted on 31 December.

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/01/pakistan-will-try-make-trump-pay/145042/?oref=DefenseOneFB&utm_content=buffer9efae&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/01/trump-accuses-pakistan-lies-and-deceit-says-u-s-has-foolishly-given-them-aid.html

Since September 2000, the United States has given Pakistan more than 34 billion dollars in economic assistance. Despite this aid, Pakistan continues to support the Taliban and other jihadist groups operating in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 9-11 terror attacks, was hiding in Pakistan when he was killed.

At best, Pakistan is an unsure ally. Pakistan’s foreign policy revolves around India, a regional rival and economic powerhouse. Islamabad plays the United States against China to gain leverage against India. If Afghanistan becomes a stable government and develops economic ties with India, it could change the region’s delicate balance of power.

The US is better served supporting India and isolating Pakistan. Pakistan will never support the development of a strong/stable Afghanistan. No amount of foreign aid or diplomatic coercion changes that. The Chinese will try to fill the void , but Islamabad will soon discover China is an expensive and problematic ally.

 

 

Congress and 2018

With the holidays over, Congress returns to work with a Republican majority wishing to advance their agenda. Unfortunately, there isn’t an agenda to advance. With a slim Senate majority and mid-term elections in November, Republicans can’t realistically accomplish anything without bipartisan support.

https://www.axios.com/congress-likely-to-do-less-in-18-than-in-17-1515333826-d7976b78-8db4-41a1-bffa-112d2fe5727a.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/02/politics/congress-republicans-2018-agenda-return/index.html

There is talk of bipartisan legislation on infrastructure and welfare reform, but for now it’s just talk. Democrats know Republican candidates are saddled with an unpopular president. They also know tax reform, their only major legislative victory, has a below 50% approval rating. There is absolutely no incentive to give Republicans even modest legislative victories.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2508

The scorched earth/talk radio policies used by Republicans, combined with Mr. Trump’s vicious personal attacks, have destroyed any chance of Congress actually functioning.  The Congress of 2017 showed us these kids can’t play together. It’s time for Democrats to take their ball, go home, and wait for 2019.

Voter Fraud Commission Disbanded

Yesterday President Donald Trump disbanded his voter fraud commission. Formed  by the President in May 2017, the commission was charged with finding evidence of large-scale voter fraud. Mr. Trump believes, despite offering no evidence to support his claim,  massive voter fraud led to Mrs. Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by 2.9 million votes.

“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” Trump said Wednesday night.

“Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-shuts-down-voter-fraud-commission/article/2644912

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/03/trump-dissolves-voter-fraud-commission-after-states-balk-at-data-requests.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/trumps-voter-fraud-commission-is-disbanded/549641/

The commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, never really gained traction. From the beginning, it was seen as an exercise in justifying Mr. Trump’s losing the popular voter.  Of the more than 135 million votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, only four were found to be fraudulent.

Sears Closing 103 Stores

Today Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O) announced the closure of 103 stores. After 24 quarters of consecutive losses, the retail giant is closing 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores. These closures are scheduled  for March and April 2018, with liquidation sales starting in mid-January.

Sears declined to say how many jobs were being lost. However, they did say most were part-time positions. They also promised severance packages to eligible associates.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/sears-is-closing-over-100-more-stores/ar-BBHSyYw?ocid=ob-fb-enus-280

http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/10/news/sears-canada-liquidation/index.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2017/11/03/another-60-plus-sears-kmart-stores-set-close-january-2018/828585001/

Sears continues to face increased competition from on-line sellers such as Amazon, big box giants like Walmart, Best Buy, and Home Depot.

Senator Hatch to Retire

Today Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced he won’t seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2018. Mr. Hatch, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was responsible for shepherding the recent changes to the U.S. tax code through the Senate.

“Although I will miss serving you in the senate, I look forward to spending more time with my family,” Hatch said via Twitter.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-trumps-drive-to-block-mitt-romney-from-senate-stumbles

https://www.thedailybeast.com/tax-cuts-check-funding-the-government-not-so-fast

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/02/as-orrin-hatch-retires-here-are-six-things-to-watch/

Mr. Hatch, along with Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have all announced they will not run in 2018. Unlike those two seats, Utah is solidly Republican and should remain in the GOP column.

However, if a moderate Republican such as Mitt Romney were to be elected, the Senate suddenly becomes more problematic for President Trump.

2018 and Beyond

Things here at State of the Superpower became very busy during 2017. Life commitments, combined with Trump fatigue, combined to shut us down for the second half of the year. Actually, politics became too ugly. Instead of the usual policy/political differences, discourse degenerated to unacceptably  nasty levels . Political coverage became an unpleasant chore.

However, the new year brings new opportunities. Granted, the daily Trump outrage is omnipresent, but we are facing a critical year. The 2018 off-year elections  are only 11 months away, meaning there will be plenty of interesting and varied political topics to cover. After two years of Trumpism, this year we  determine the type of nation we are.

In addition, we here at State of the Superpower intend to broaden coverage to include international news, social commentary,  film/pop culture, and sports. We also want to expand our military and economic coverage. In short, the goal is to expand into more than a political blog.

For full disclosure, our writers do lean left politically. That being said, we’re not here to act as an echo chamber offering prepackaged liberal ideas. We want to look at both sides of a topic, and support what  works. If our writers can take both liberal and conservative readers out of their comfort ones, then we are achieving our goal.

So buckle up buttercups, it’s going to be a rough ride.