Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Kansas Militiamen Who Bombed Mosque Admit Trump Incited Them

While bobbleheads on Fox News insist Donald Trump did not incite a white nationalist to shoot up a synagogue or send mail bombs to targets of Trump's rage, lawyers for three Kansas militiamen who plotted to bomb a mosque claim that their clients should get more lenient sentences because . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . Donald Trump incited them.
Patrick Eugene Stein faces life in prison for conspiring with two other men to carry out the attack, which was supposed to take place on the day after the 2016 presidential election. On Monday, his attorneys filed a memo in U.S. District Court in the District of Kansas, requesting that Stein receive a sentence of no more than 15 years. They note that Stein was an “early and avid supporter” of Trump and argue that the climate in the months leading up to the 2016 election should be taken in account when evaluating the comments prosecutors used to build their case.

During the trial in the spring, prosecutors played back recordings in which Stein described Muslim immigrants as “cockroaches” that needed to be exterminated, and talked about killing Muslims with weapons dipped in pigs' blood. Two months before the conversation took place, The Washington Post’s Abigail Hauslohner noted, Trump had referenced a questionable tale about Gen. John J. Pershing killing Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs' blood.
"The court cannot ignore the circumstances of one of the most rhetorically mold-breaking, violent, awful, hateful and contentious presidential elections in modern history, driven in large measure by the rhetorical China shop bull who is now our president,” James Pratt and Michael Shultz, Stein’s defense attorneys, wrote in their sentencing memo, as HuffPost first reported.
No, Trump has not directly told his supporters to bomb mosques or shoot Jews. But he has told supporters to beat up protesters, praised politicians who assaulted journalists, and told cops to injure suspects. He has called Nazis marching in Charlottesville "very fine people" after one of their number ran down people with a car and killed a woman. He's always winking at politically motivated violence, so it should be no surprise when his supporters take the hint.

Conservatives used to heap ridicule on liberals by mischaracterizing their compassion for destitute blacks who who committed crimes as "blaming society," rather than taking individual responsibility for their actions.

Now we've got white conservatives blaming the political climate for their crimes, and that they should get a pass because Donald Trump is racist dickhead.

Yes, Donald Trump is morally culpable for the horrific political climate he created in this country. But his followers shouldn't get off the hook for committing the crimes he incited.

Next thing you know, Trump will be pardoning these "very fine people."

Just What Does Trump Think He Is?

Donald Trump thinks he can erase the 14th Amendment with a scrawl of his pen and eliminate birthright citizenship. He has now claimed, “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits.”

Of course, like most everything this gasbag belches, this is an outright lie. Dozens of countries colonized by Europe, mostly in the Western Hemisphere, have what is called jus soli, or "right of the soil." For example, Canada and Mexico have birthright citizenship, like the United States does.

Birthright citizenship has been a bugaboo for white nationalists for a long time, though they usually use the derogatory term "anchor babies." Trump harped on this during the campaign in 2015. So why is he trotting it out again just now?

That's an easy one: the synagogue shooting in Pennsylvania. Just a week before an important election Trump had to publicly repudiate the murder of eleven American Jews by a fellow white nationalist.

But to assure other white nationalists he was still one of them, Trump had to do something to prove he's still a racist douche bag. Hence, the attack on the perennial favorite of white nationalists: anchor babies.

This looks like a cynical and transparent ploy to juice conservative turnout, because such an executive order cannot stand up in court. The president cannot overturn the Constitution all by his lonesome.

But if Trump really does believe he can do this, and that the Supreme Court he has packed with sycophants will rubber stamp a clear abrogation of the Constitution, it's even worse.

It means that Trump thinks he is a tyrant who can issue diktats according to his every whim.

That is what the Republicans accused Barack Obama of when he issued executive orders (which, by the way, numbered fewer than those written by George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, etc.).

You can make a reasoned argument that the Constitution should be amended so that only children born of permanent legal residents are citizens, as Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, etc., have done. A real president who was truly concerned about this issue would have proposed such an amendment shortly after his inauguration, not days before an election.

What you can't do is claim the president can do whatever the hell he wants, all to mollify sympathizers of racist nutjobs who shoot up places of worship.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Coddling of the American Mind

I've been following Dr. Haidt's research for years. His work on political sociology is groundbreaking. His new book delves into the dangers of over protecting young people from ideas they don't like. Here's a recent segment in which he explains his peer reviewed research and I have to say, I'm deeply concerned if we continue down the path of encouraging fragility.

Liberals, I'm calling on you to knock this shit off because we need to be tougher and the Trump party. They laugh at us when we do this shit.

To be clear, I'm not saying we need to let people be racists, homophobic or sexist. In fact, we need to confront that shit head on and call them out. Ensconcing oneself into a protective bubble of self referential confirmation allows evil to flourish.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

It's Happening Again

It's official: the angry white men who sent more than a dozen bombs in the mail and who shot up a synagogue were directly incited by Donald Trump.

The mail bomber lived out of a van festooned with pro-Trump propaganda: a rolling shrine to racism. According to his lawyer, Cesar Sayoc was directly radicalized by Donald Trump:
Sayoc, a 56-year-old Florida man who friends and other associates say had never shown any interest in politics, suddenly began sharing images of himself on Facebook at Trump campaign events. He signed up for Twitter, where he trafficked in conspiracy theories and conservative memes. He registered as a Republican to vote in Florida ­— Lowy said he believes it was for the first time in Sayoc’s life ­— in 2016. He traded out his Native American decals for ones that supported Trump.

“Had no interest in politics, was always at the night clubs, the gyms, wherever he thought he could meet people, impress people. And along came the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who welcomed all extremists, all outsiders, all outliers, and he felt that somebody was finally talking to him,” Lowy said.
The synagogue shooter, Robert Bowers, was also directly radicalized by Trump. Bowers blasted Trump for not being nationalistic enough -- Trump only hates Muslims, Latinos, Chinese, Japanese, Germans, French, Canadians, transgendered people, women who need abortions, women who need birth control, women who have been assaulted by dickheads, people who live in countries wracked by dictatorship and violence and look to the United States for salvation.

Bowers swallowed the whole "caravan will kill us" line that Trump is trying to sell and took it one step further. He attacked Tree of Life Synagogue specifically because they are part of a century-old organization that helps resettle refugees in the United States:
The most recent postings on the Gab account believed to belong to Bowers specifically targeted the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, known as HIAS, which is one of nine organizations that works with the federal government to resettle refugees in American communities.

“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,” Bowers is suspected of writing hours before authorities said he opened fire at Tree of Life.

In one posting, which seems to have been published several weeks ago, the author appears to threaten participants in the HIAS’s National Refugee Shabbat project, for which more than 200 congregations across the country held celebration and worship services centered on refugees last week. The organization, founded in 1881 to assist Jews fleeing Russia and Eastern Europe, now works to resettle displaced people from around the world, including Muslim and Central and South American nations.

“Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided,” the poster wrote before linking to the Web page that lists all of the participating congregations.
If you whip a dog into a frenzy, encourage it to attack people on the street, and then let it off its leash and it tears the throat out of a five-year-old child, you are guilty of murder.

Every day, on Twitter, at his rallies, at the scrum in front of Marine One, Trump is whipping his dogs into a frenzy, encouraging them to beat up reporters, punch protesters at his rallies, telling cops it's okay to brutalize suspects.

Trump didn't directly order these attacks. But he is morally responsible for the mail bombs and the bloodshed at Tree of Life.

And then, to add insult to injury, Trump blamed the Jewish victims for not having guards.

How many times do we have to repeat this? Guns do not provide protection, they only allow retaliation. Guards are just the first people to be hit by the burst of gunfire from the AR-15 shooters like Bowers love to use. Four cops with guns were among the shooting victims at the synagogue.

One of the Bowers' victims was a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor. What were her last thoughts as gunfire rang though the synagogue?

Oh, no. It's happening again.

A Week Of Hate Courtesy Of Trump and His Supporters

Well, let's see. First we had Gregory Bush trying to kill black people in Kentucky. Then we had Cesar Sayoc send pipe bombs to 14 major Democratic leaders. And we ended with another shooting in which Robert Bowers walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed worshipers because he thought they were aiding the caravan coming from Honduras.

Thank you, Trump supporters and right wing bloggers/commenters for being responsible for all of this!

I've been saying this for quite some time on this site but these people are domestic terrorists. They are actively encouraging acts of violence against liberals. Their paranoid delusions have sent them to a place from which there is no coming back.

They are pure fucking evil and they want to kill. It's just that simple.

Consider Sayoc, who, according to reports...

...went on racist, anti-gay tirades at the Fort Lauderdale pizza shop where he worked as a night-shift deliveryman in 2017, telling his manager, a lesbian, that she and other gay people along with Democrats should all be put onto an island and then “nuked.” At a reunion event in 2015 with his college soccer team, he browbeat former team members with racist, sexist conspiracy theories.

Or Bush who tried to break into a black church only to give up and shoot up a grocery store with predominantly black patrons.

Bowers had an AR-15 (shocking...not) and several hand guns which helped him out a great deal, especially with shooting and killing the four policemen who were also armed. When you allow ordinary citizens the capability of a soldier, they create a war zone.

Of course, the right is already engaging in whatboutism, pointing out liberal violence that mythically equal. Worse, Trump blamed the media and Democrats for not being civil enough. Like the women who wears the sexy dress and gets raped, we brought it on ourselves.

When the Democrats take back the House in a week and a half, they should start issuing subpoenas to right wing hate groups and throwing these assholes in Gitmo. They aren't patriots.

They are traitors.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Fat Slob in the Mirror

Donald Trump has constantly incited violence against political opponents and the media. The same day a bomb showed up in George Soros' mailbox, Trump praised a congressman who bodyslammed a reporter who was just asking a question.

Trump is now blaming the media for several bombs sent to prominent Democrats, George Soros, CNN and Robert De Niro.
Yes, it's all the media's fault for spreading fake news: they keep repeating Trump's twitter feed and showing video of him making false claims and citing inaccurate statistics so he can make real estate arms deals with dictators who murder reporters.

The media just reflect what Trump says and does. If he doesn't like having his lies thrown back in his face, he should just shut up.

Why, just the other morning he was griping to Melania at breakfast (five sausage McMuffins and a Diet Coke): "Jesus Christ, that slob in the bathroom mirror was so fat and ugly! And what a terrible comb-over!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sexual Predator Claims "Executive Privilege"

A man on a Southwest Airlines flight groped the breasts of the woman sitting in front of him. He was arrested, cuffed and charged by the FBI with Abusive Sexual Contact.

But he didn't think he'd done anything wrong because, as the perp/perv says, the President  of the United States says it's okay to grab women by their private parts.

According to the complaint:
16. After being placed in hand cuffs, ALEXANDER asked what the sentence was for the charge he was being arrested for. Later, in the vehicle, ALEXANDER stated that the President of the United States says it's ok to grab women by their private parts.
Is this really the world that evangelicals wanted to create when they voted for Donald Trump? They used to say that character counts, that a country must be led by people with exemplary personal standards. That the president must serve as a paragon of virtue for the nation.

To be honest, this crap has been going on forever. Trump didn't start it. But with him as president, conservatives are starting to think that assaulting women is their god-given right. Since this is a democracy and everyone is equal, they reason, if a drunken Supreme Court nominee can get away with trying to rape a teenage girl, then every construction worker should be able to cop a feel on an airplane.

According to Trump supporters, arresting guys for groping women is PC bullshit!

How much lower will this country sink after two more years of this clown?

The Cyberoperation Begins!

Early voting in the 2018 midterm elections has been going on for weeks now, but the US Cyber Command has only now started a "cyberoperation" to stop Russian hackers trying to swing the election.
The United States Cyber Command is targeting individual Russian operatives to try to deter them from spreading disinformation to interfere in elections, telling them that American operatives have identified them and are tracking their work, according to officials briefed on the operation.

The campaign, which includes missions undertaken in recent days, is the first known overseas cyberoperation to protect American elections, including the November midterms.
What kinds of things is Cyber Command doing?
Defense officials would not say how many individuals they were targeting, and they would not describe the methods that Cyber Command has used to send the direct messages to the operatives behind the influence campaigns. It is not clear if the information was delivered in an email, a chat or some other electronic intervention.

Senior defense officials said they were not directly threatening the operatives. Still, former officials said anyone singled out would know, based on the United States government’s actions against other Russian operatives, that they could be indicted or targeted with sanctions. Even the unstated threat of sanctions could help deter some Russians from participating in covert disinformation campaigns, said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former intelligence official now with the Center for a New American Security.
Yes, Donald Trump's Cyber Command is stopping Russian hackers by sending them threatening emails. I wonder how these emails go?
Dearest Misha,

Please stop hacking Democrats' emails, especially

Also, please stop posting inflammatory and threatening messages on #MeToo against women who have been abused by Supreme Court nominees. Don't pretend to be guys who were unjustly accused of rape. And don't post on #HimToo, suggesting that every man will be in danger of false rape accusations, and that women will run everything if the Democrats win. That might inflame conservative men and increase their turnout in November.

And please stop picking on George Soros on right-wing subreddits. Someone might get the idea of putting a bomb in his mailbox.

Yours Truly,

And if they don't stop, Trump's Cyber Command will tell their mommies.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Trump's Only True Skill

For Trump supporters and apologists everywhere....

“Trump’s only true skill is the con; his only fundamental belief is that the United States is the birthright of straight, white, Christian men, and his only real, authentic pleasure is in cruelty. It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them, that binds his most ardent supporters to him, in shared scorn for those they hate and fear: immigrants, black voters, feminists, and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those who would steal their birthright.

The president’s ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel good, it makes them feel proud, it makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united. And as long as he makes them feel that way, they will let him get away with anything, no matter what it costs them."

--Adam Serwer, The Cruelty Is The Whole Point.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Who are we to believe-Trump or our lyin' ears?

President Trump's reluctance to call out the Saudi government for the assassination of Washington Post reporter Jamal Kashoggi illustrates two very key truths. First, Trump owes the Saudis a bunch of money from his business interests and doesn't want to make waves. Recently, he hilariously tweeted out this...

Yet during the 2016 campaign we have him on tape saying something much different. The clip comes at the end of this video which also details his financial ties with Saudi Arabia.


Who are we to believe-Trump or our lyin' ears?

The second truth that is illustrated by his reluctance to call out the Saudis on the Kashoggi death is he really, really hates reporters (or anyone for that matter) that criticize him. If they get killed, great! That's one less asshole he has to deal with.

The president is not acting in the best interests of this country. He is acting in his own, personal interest.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Democrats Need Their Die Hard Issue

Now that some time has passed since Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed, it's time for Democrats to reflect on how they lost...again. In order to get a good read on how this happened, let's go back to 2008.

Barack Obama won massively in his bid for president. Congress was all blue. Even the state houses looked solid for the Democrats across the country. People were talking about a permanent, democratic majority. Yet while this was all going on, the GOP quietly began to realize they could erode any gains by the left if they were just patient. After all, conservatives have far more reliable voters and knew that if they just bided their time and let the anger/hate/fear propaganda machine fully flow, democratic voters would assume victory forever and not turn out at the polls while conservative voters would vote every year no matter what.

More importantly, the picked one key issue that they knew would get voters out to the polls: JUDGES. 

Flash forward to today and we have a GOP that runs all three branches of government and 30 state houses. This has happened primarily because conservative voters want conservative judges running SCOTUS and all the federal courts below it. This die hard issue drives them to the polls. Donald Trump could be filmed sodomizing a 5 year old boy and then shooting him in the head but voters will forgive him because....


The Democrats look good to take back the House three weeks and might have a shot at the Senate, although that is looking less likely. If they want to build a permanent majority, and they easily can because there are more liberal voters than conservative voters, they need to find that one key issue that people will rally behind no matter what. I think that issue is #MeToo.

The uptick in voter registration is largely a reaction to Donald Trump's misogyny. More women are running for office than ever before. Young voters are turning out and getting more people registered because of the mistreatment of women from the top of our power structures all the way down.

This issue could be the Democrats' die hard issue just as judges are with Republicans. People, especially women, have had enough. They want equal rights. Their anger will not go away after this election cycle. They will not rest until more women are in power at the federal and state level. It's time for Democratic leadership to seize this issue and make it their centerpiece.

If they want to win on November 6th and in every election in the future, this is all they should be talking about from now on.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

First Man

A couple of weeks ago Republicans starting screaming about a movie none of them had ever seen: First Man, a film about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Since this is actual history, I can't actually spoil it, but I won't ruin the ending for you.

Republicans were angry because the movie, which came out yesterday, did not have a scene with Armstrong erecting the flag on the moon. The only reason that this fact impinged upon the Republican consciousness was something that Ryan Gosling, the actor who plays Armstrong, said back in August:
“Full disclosure, I'm a Canadian, so this might be some form of cognitive dissonance, but I think this achievement was widely regarded not as an American, but as a human achievement, and that's how we chose to view it,” Gosling said at a press conference in Venice on Wednesday. “I don't think Neil viewed himself as an American hero, quite the opposite” he added. “Neil was someone who was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts...the way we made the film was to honor the way Neil viewed himself.”
Now, there is a flag raising in the movie: Armstrong's son raises the flag in front of their house when his dad is going into space. And flags appear on space suits and space craft and buildings all the time.

But is Gosling right about Armstrong not considering himself an American hero? It seems like it. Read articles that were published at the time of Armstrong's death in 2012:
Armstrong would doubtless have been uncomfortable with all the tributes. People who knew him said he was not a recluse, but he was a private man who quickly deflected credit to others. He described himself, more than once, as a "nerdy engineer." He often protested that while he and Aldrin made the first lunar landing, they merely piloted a mission made possible by thousands of others.
Consider what was written on the plaque left on the on the lunar excursion module's leg: Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.

Consider what Armstrong himself said when he planted his boot on the gray powdery surface of the moon: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Incidentally, the movie kept the quote as recorded, rather than correcting it to "one small step for a man," which Armstrong had intended to say, and was certain he had said. Subsequent analysis appears to prove Armstrong's initial claim correct: the lost "a" was due to a communications dropout.

Clearly Armstrong, and the program itself, wanted to be seen as representatives of all of humanity, not flag-waving American braggarts.

Now, I watched the entire moon walk, live, in the middle of the night, as an 11-year-old child, and I can tell you that the flag planting was not a momentous occasion. It was boring. It was more fun watching them hop around.

You can see Armstrong and Aldrin set the flag up on the moon yourself in the video below, starting at about 46:00. They do it mostly silently and without ceremony or fanfare. It takes them five minutes of fiddling around, trying to unfold it and then making the pole stay in the lunar soil. Armstrong took a couple of pictures of Aldrin with the flag, without comment. Then Aldrin started talking about his gait in lunar gravity.

Armstrong was undoubtedly proud to be an American, glad to be from a country that had the foresight, grit and determination to go to the moon in the face of so many setbacks. But he wasn't a jingoistic blowhard. He was first and foremost an engineer who got the job done. That is the point of the movie.

After Republicans started their tirade Buzz Aldrin also blasted the movie, posting the picture that Armstrong took. Aldrin, a former Air Force pilot, said saluting the flag was his proudest moment.

Well, good for you, Buzz. I'm sure that's how you feel in retrospect. But you didn't say that at the time: you were all about the mission, not puffed-up patriotism. You did your job professionally, as befitting an astronaut.

The movie depicts Aldrin (played by Corey Stoll) as kind of a dick; unfairly, I think, but someone in the film had to tell it like it was. Is Aldrin's ire directed at First Man really because it omits flag-waving or because it doesn't flatter him?

First Man deals with a lot of grief. Armstrong's daughter dies of brain cancer early in the film. Fellow astronauts die in training accidents.

The film examines why these men keep going, and what it takes to keep their cool in life and death situations, when everything is literally spinning out of control and billions of dollars worth of hardware and thousands of man-years of effort are on the line.

First Man, as the title implies, is about the man, not the mission. There are several harrowing scenes where rocket planes, space capsules and LEMs are about to crash or run out of fuel. These all focus on Armstrong and what he sees, or can't see.

We never really see the X-15 he's in when he bounces off the earth's atmosphere. There are very few exterior shots of rocket launches, Armstrong's gyrating Gemini capsule, the Apollo 11 liftoff and the moon landing itself. Even when Armstrong is on the lunar surface, we mostly see it reflected in his gold-plated visor. The movie gives short shrift to all the bombastic aspects of the space program, not just the flag planting.

For a movie about space, First Man must have had a relatively small special effects budget. Because that's not what the film's about. It was about what motivates modest, ordinary men like Armstrong to do mind-bogglingly dangerous and extraordinary things. It's all about Armstrong's reactions and perspective.

We've had hundreds of rah-rah epics about flag-waving hot-dog pilots, from the Right Stuff to Independence Day. Can't we have just one movie about a quiet engineer who did something no one else did before?

First Man comes to an emotional conclusion that several critics and Armstrong acquaintances disagree with. If you're going to argue with the film, that's the argument you should pick with it.

Not the omission of some boring, perfunctory flag-raising.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Man Who Killed Civilization

People were "surprised" when Hurricane Michael suddenly became a Category 4 storm only days after it came up on everyone's radar as a tropical storm.

They shouldn't have been.

Michael's storm track was along Florida's Gulf Coast, which has been inundated by "red tide" this year. A horrendous stench and millions of dead fish have washed up on Florida's western beaches, destroying the tourist industry there. Red tide is an algae bloom, caused by high nutrient content (fertilizer runoff) and high surface water temperatures.

Guess what else comes from high water temperatures? Very powerful hurricanes.

At the same time Hurricane Michael was spinning up the IPCC, the UN panel on climate change, issued a report saying that climate change was going to hit much harder and much sooner than they had originally projected.

That climate change causes higher sea levels and higher water temperatures, exactly those things that drive ever more powerful hurricanes.

Scientists are always careful to say that not every storm is "caused" by global warming. And, yes, that's true. But it's equally true that the force of every storm is amplified by higher air and water temperatures.

If we had started phasing out coal plants back in 1990s when it was clear that climate change was a serious issue, Florida's Red Tide would have lasted a few weeks instead of several months.

If we had imposed more stringent fuel economy standards back then, Michael would have stayed a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane. Hurricanes Florence, Harvey and Sandy would have been less intense. Fewer people would have died and the destruction would have been far less costly.

But instead we have Donald Trump denying the every day reality of climate change, dismantling the EPA and actively pushing for more coal burning.

In 30 years people will look back on Trump and say, "That was the man who killed civilization." Not just for accelerating the pace of climate change. But for stoking hatred and division at every step: setting America against the world, whites against blacks, native Americans against immigrants, Christians against Muslims, old against young, and even men against women.

Evangelical Christians have long been talking about the end of the world and the antichrist. Well, they got their wish: they elected him president.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Trump's Climb of Shame

Yesterday gossip sites were abuzz with this video of Donald Trump climbing up to Air Force One with something stuck to his shoe:

Unfortunately, it wasn't toilet paper. It wasn't a napkin.

 It was the Constitution of the United States.

Power Begets Power

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Trump Committed Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Tax Fraud

The New York Times got hold of the tax records for Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father, and found a mountain of evidence that Fred and Donald committed tax fraud exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars.

Not only did they evade taxes, but they also screwed thousands of people living in apartments owned by Fred Trump's companies, illegally raising their rents by padding maintenance costs.
The [reporters] began to talk to people familiar with the president’s father and his empire. Those people told them that [All County Building Supply & Maintenance] was a middleman entity created by President Trump and his siblings essentially to move cash from Fred Trump’s companies to his children. After All County bought various items for Fred Trump’s buildings, like boilers and cleaning supplies, a secretary would bill the items to Fred Trump’s buildings with a 20 to 50 percent markup. The siblings would then pocket the difference.

In short, the siblings received millions in untaxed gifts from their father, skirting a 55 percent tax on gifts over a certain value that would have cut the total significantly.

“When we came to that realization, that was a big day for us,” Mr. Buettner said.

Over the next several months, the reporters would obtain tens of thousands of pages of documents, including more than 200 tax returns from Fred Trump, his companies and various Trump partnerships and trusts. (“We have a virtual mountain of spreadsheets,” Mr. Barstow said. “We should have spreadsheets for our spreadsheets.”) The trove included previously secret depositions, including one in which Robert Trump, the president’s brother, admitted that the family used the padded receipts from All County to justify higher rent increases for their tenants in rent-regulated apartments.
Now, I know that Trump supporters will greet this news with a gigantic yawn. Trumpies already know he's a crook. They know he's conspiring with the Russians. They know he sexually assaulted more than a dozen women.

It's the same with Kavanaugh. They know he assaulted the woman who've accused him. They know he was a mean drunk all throughout high school, college and beyond.

They just don't care.

By all rights Trump's supporters should be irate. Everything Trump said about being a self-made man was a lie: his daddy was constantly bailing him out of financial jams. And when Fred was getting senile Trump changed his father's will to make himself the sole executor of the estate, to steal whatever was left.

Trump is the worst kind of elitist: the kind that uses the inside track to enrich himself at the expense of others. The kind of guy that Trump supporters claim to hate the most.

In his defense Trump blamed it all on his accountants and lawyers. Essentially, he's saying that he's a stupid dupe and had no idea all these guys were stealing his father's money and shoveling it into his coffers. Yeah, right.

It's doubtful that the federal government will go after Trump (though they should). Trump has every agency in the federal government cowed. He's pushing the outright lie that the president can't be taken to court for crimes committed before he assumed the presidency, but since the Supreme Court allowed a sexual harassment claim to proceed against Bill Clinton, it's clear that presidents are not above the law.

In any case, the state of New York should be able to use this evidence charge Trump and his siblings with fraud and tax evasion.

And Trump won't be able to pardon his way out of that.