Tag Archives: nominees

CorporateCabinet.org tracks Trump nominees

The corporate ties of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks and other top political appointees are exposed at CorporateCabinet.org.

Public Citizen said it unveiled the website to expose corporate ties, corrupting influences and conflicts of interest in Trump’s cabinet.

The site, which will be updated regularly, will eventually include other top officials such as deputy secretaries.

Many of the nominees have connections with corporations whose profit-driven interests are directly at odds with the federal agencies Trump has selected them to lead.

“Donald Trump, the candidate who ran against corruption, cronyism and insider dealmaking, is handing control of the government over to corporate chieftains,” stated Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Trump’s corporate Cabinet nominees have staggering conflicts of interest, and if confirmed will drive forward policies to advance the interests of Big Business, not the American people. We’re facing the prospect of a government literally of the Exxons, by the Goldman Sachses and for the Kochs.”

The site has key information about:

  • Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has strong ties to Koch Industries and raked in eye-popping sums from the finance sector, construction industry, pharmaceutical industry and chemical industry.
  • Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state pick, who made his career at Exxon Mobil.
  • Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary nominee and longtime Goldman Sachs executive who was steeped in the investment banking industry long before it became a poster child for economy-wrecking, foreclosure-inducing Wall Street greed, and who later helped run a failed bank accused of duplicitous foreclosure practices.
  • Gen. James Mattis, being considered for secretary of defense, who has served on the board of General Dynamics, a multinational military contractor.
  • U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., under consideration for attorney general and a darling of the finance, insurance and real estate industries, among others.
  • Betsy DeVos, named to be education secretary, who is a billionaire scion and whose husband is heir to the Amway fortune.
  • Elaine Chao, up to run the U.S. Department of Transportation, who served on the board of directors of Wells Fargo during the cross-selling scandal.
  • Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, slated to head the National Economic Council, who led Goldman Sachs as it profited off the housing market collapse in part by misleading its own clients.
  • Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to the run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who has a deep affinity for fossil fuel companies.
  • Steve Bannon, a special adviser to Trump who once ran Breitbart.com, a far-right website, and is a former Goldman Sachs executive.
  • Linda McMahon, picked to run the Small Business Administration, who as World Wrestling Entertainment CEO helped ensure the wrestling industry remained largely unregulated, putting the health and safety of wrestlers at risk.
  • Fast-food mogul Andy Puzder, who is to head the U.S. Department of Labor and whose companies are known for being anti-worker and anti-union.
  • Wilbur Ross, a billionaire whose firm has profited from buying distressed firms and cutting workers’ benefits, who is under consideration for secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Democrats’ bill would require presidents, nominees to release tax returns

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is cosponsoring legislation introduced by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden that would require the president-elect to release his recent tax returns in order to give the public honest insight into his actions, values and foreign business dealings.

“President-elect Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns makes it clear he has something to hide from the American people, ” Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, said in a statement released on Jan. 4. “The public deserves to know if their president has taken advantage of tax loopholes or put his income or profits in off shore accounts in order to pay a lower tax rate than Wisconsin middle-class families.”

She added, “People also deserve to know how President-elect Trump will personally benefit from foreign deals or his own tax cut proposals. Either President-elect Trump releases his tax returns or he explains to the people he works for why he believes he is entitled to keep secrets.”

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act would require a sitting president to release his or her most recent three years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics.

The legislation also would require that within 15 days of becoming the nominee at the party convention, presidential nominees must release their most recent three years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission.

Should a sitting president or future candidates refuse to comply, the treasury secretary will be required to provide the tax returns directly to the OGE or FEC respectively for public release.

For nearly 40 years — since the Watergate crisis — candidates from major political parties have voluntarily released tax returns during the campaign.

Senate cosponsors of Wyden’s Presidential Tax Transparency Act include Baldwin and  Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Dianne Feinstein of California, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Tom Udall of New Mexico and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

On the Web

Click here for a summary of the bill.

The bill text can be found here.

Baldwin cosponsors bill requiring presidential nominees to release tax returns

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon directing presidential nominees to release recent tax returns in order to give the public honest insights into the candidate’s actions and values.

The bill is the Presidential Tax Transparency Act and it would require that, within 15 days of becoming the nominee at a party convention, a candidate must release his or her most recent three years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission.

Should the candidate refuse to comply, the treasury secretary would provide the tax returns to the FEC for public release.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has refused to release his returns, despite repeated calls from his political rivals and the news media.

Baldwin, in a statement, said, “Wisconsin has a strong tradition of supporting open government, transparency and accountability. For nearly 40 years presidential candidates from major political parties have respected this tradition and voluntarily released tax returns during the campaign.”

She continued, “I believe this legislation will strengthen the public’s right to know and prevent candidates for commander in chief from keeping their finances and personal tax returns in the dark.”

A one-page summary of the Presidential Tax Transparency Act is available here.

The bill text is available here.

Romney blasts Donald Trump as an ignorant, arrogant, dishonest bully

Full remarks delivered by Mitt Romney about Donald Trump at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at University of Utah.

Click here to watch the video of this speech

I am not here to announce my candidacy for office. I am not going to endorse a candidate today. Instead, I would like to offer my perspective on the nominating process of my party. In 1964, days before the presidential election which, incidentally, we lost, Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America saying that it was a “Time for Choosing.” He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path. I’m no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment but I believe with all my heart and soul that we face another time for choosing, one that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country.

I say this in part because of my conviction that America is poised to lead the world for another century. Our technology engines, our innovation dynamic, and the ambition and skill of our people will propel our economy and raise our standard of living. America will remain as it is today, the envy of the world.

Warren Buffett was 100% right when he said last week that “the babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

That doesn’t mean we don’t have real problems and serious challenges. At home, poverty persists and wages are stagnant. The horrific massacres of Paris and San Bernardino, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian mullahs, the aggressions of Putin, the growing assertiveness of China and the nuclear tests of North Korea confirm that we live in troubled and dangerous times.

But if we make the right choices, America’s future will be even better than our past and better than our present.

On the other hand, if we make improvident choices, the bright horizon I foresee will never materialize. Let me put it plainly, if we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.

Let me explain why.

First, the economy: If Donald Trump’s plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into a prolonged recession.

A few examples: His proposed 35% tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war that would raise prices for consumers, kill export jobs, and lead entrepreneurs and businesses to flee America. His tax plan, in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and to honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt. So even as Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.

But wait, you say, isn’t he a huge business success that knows what he’s talking about? No he isn’t. His bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who worked for them. He inherited his business, he didn’t create it. And what ever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks, and Trump Mortgage? A business genius he is not.

Now not every policy Donald Trump has floated is bad. He wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. He wants to bring jobs home from China and Japan. But his prescriptions to do these things are flimsy at best. At the last debate, all he could remember about his healthcare plan was to remove insurance boundaries between states. Successfully bringing jobs home requires serious policy and reforms that make America the place businesses want to plant and grow. You can’t punish business into doing the things you want. Frankly, the only serious policy proposals that deal with the broad range of national challenges we confront, come today from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich. One of these men should be our nominee.

I know that some people want the race to be over. They look at history and say a trend like Mr. Trump’s isn’t going to be stopped.

Perhaps. But the rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign. If the other candidates can find common ground, I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism. Given the current delegate selection process, this means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.

Let me turn to national security and the safety of our homes and loved ones. Trump’s bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS. And for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country.

What he said on “60 Minutes” about Syria and ISIS has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the campaign season: Let ISIS take out Assad, he said, and then we can pick up the remnants. Think about that: Let the most dangerous terror organization the world has ever known take over a country? This is recklessness in the extreme.

Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

I am far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, while has called George W. Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good.

There is dark irony in his boasts of his sexual exploits during the Vietnam War while John McCain, whom he has mocked, was imprisoned and tortured.

Dishonesty is Trump’s hallmark: He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong, he spoke in favor of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong, he saw no such thing. He imagined it. His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader. His imagination must not be married to real power.

The President of the United States has long been the leader of the free world. The president and yes the nominees of the country’s great parties help define America to billions of people. All of them bear the responsibility of being an example for our children and grandchildren.

Mitt Romney —PHOTO: Gage Skidmore
Mitt Romney —PHOTO: Gage Skidmore

Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. We have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He is the only person in America to whom we have added an article before his name. It wasn’t because he had attributes we admired.

Now imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Will you welcome that? Haven’t we seen before what happens when people in prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct? We have, and it always injures our families and our country.

Watch how he responds to my speech today. Will he talk about our policy differences or will he attack me with every imaginable low road insult? This may tell you what you need to know about his temperament, his stability, and his suitability to be president.

Trump relishes any poll that reflects what he thinks of himself. But polls are also saying that he will lose to Hillary Clinton.

On Hillary Clinton’s watch at the State Department, America’s interests were diminished in every corner of the world. She compromised our national secrets, dissembled to the families of the slain, and jettisoned her most profound beliefs to gain presidential power.

For the last three decades, the Clintons have lived at the intersection of money and politics, trading their political influence to enrich their personal finances. They embody the term “crony capitalism.” It disgusts the American people and causes them to lose faith in our political process.

A person so untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton must not become president. But a Trump nomination enables her victory. The audio and video of the infamous Tapper-Trump exchange on the Ku Klux Klan will play a hundred thousand times on cable and who knows how many million times on social media.

There are a number of people who claim that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake. There is indeed evidence of that. Mr. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign, and on the Ku Klux Klan, daily for three days in a row.

We will only really know if he is the real deal or a phony if he releases his tax returns and the tape of his interview with the The New York Times. I predict that there are more bombshells in his tax returns. I predict that he doesn’t give much if anything to the disabled and to our veterans. I predict that he told the The New York Times that his immigration talk is just that: talk. And I predict that despite his promise to do so, first made over a year ago, he will never ever release his tax returns. Never. Not the returns under audit, not even the returns that are no longer being audited. He has too much to hide. Nor will he authorize the Times to release the tapes. If I’m right, you will have all the proof you need to know that Donald Trump is a phony.

Attacking me as he surely will won’t prove him any less of a phony. It’s entirely in his hands to prove me wrong. All he has to do is to release his back taxes like he promised he would, and let us hear what he said behind closed doors to The New York Times.

Ronald Reagan used to quote a Scottish philosopher who predicted that democracies and civilizations couldn’t last more than about 200 years. John Adams wrote this: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” I believe that America has proven these dire predictions wrong for two reasons.

First, we have been blessed with great presidents, with giants among us. Men of character, integrity and selflessness have led our nation from its very beginning. None were perfect: each surely made mistakes. But in every case, they acted out of the desire to do what was right for America and for freedom.

The second reason is because we are blessed with a great people, people who at every critical moment of choosing have put the interests of the country above their own.

These two things are related: our presidents time and again have called on us to rise to the occasion. John F. Kennedy asked us to consider what we could do for our country. Lincoln drew upon the better angels of our nature to save the union.

I understand the anger Americans feel today. In the past, our presidents have channeled that anger, and forged it into resolve, into endurance and high purpose, and into the will to defeat the enemies of freedom. Our anger was transformed into energy directed for good.

Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants, he calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.

Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.

His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.

America has greatness ahead. This is a time for choosing. God bless us to choose a nominee who will make that vision a reality.

 

 

George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Madonna, more nominated for songwriters hall of fame

George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp are among the A-list contenders nominated for the 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Blondie, Gloria Estefan, the Isley Brothers, Sly Stone and Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards are also up for the top honor. Winners will be inducted next June in New York City.

Nonperforming songwriters nominated for the honor include Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Max Martin, who has co-written No.1 hits for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, the Weeknd and Taylor Swift.

Eligible members have until Dec. 11 to submit their votes for three non-performing nominees, two performing nominees and one deceased nominee.

Performing nominees also include Michael McDonald, Tom T. Hall, Jeff Lynne and Steve Miller, while Lionel Bart, Bert Berns and Roger Miller are among the deceased nominees.

Additional nonperforming nominees include Teddy Riley, Rudy Clark, Dallas Frazier, John D. Loudermilk, Bob McDill, Chip Taylor, Curly Putman and Rod Temperton, who wrote Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “Rock With You” and “Off the Wall.”

The 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala will take place June 9, 2016. 

Nominees for the worst films of the year are …

The nominations are out for the 35th annual Razzie awards to the worst films of the year.

The nominees include…

– Worst picture: “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”; “Left Behind”; “The Legend of Hercules”; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”; “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

– Worst actor: Nicolas Cage, “Left Behind”; Kirk Cameron, “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”; Kellan Lutz, “The Legend of Hercules”; Seth MacFarlane, “A Million Ways To Die in the West”; Adam Sandler, “Blended.”

– Worst actress: Drew Barrymore, “Blended”; Cameron Diaz, “The Other Woman,” “Sex Tape”; Melissa McCarthy, “Tammy”; Charlize Theron, “A Million Ways to Die in the West”; Gaia Weiss, “The Legend of Hercules.”

– Razzie redeemer award: Ben Affleck; Jennifer Aniston; Mike Myers; Keanu Reeves; Kristen Stewart.

– Worst supporting actress: Cameron Diaz, “Annie”; Megan Fox, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”; Nicola Peltz, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”; Brigitte Ridenour, “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”; Susan Sarandon, “Tammy.”

– Worst supporting actor: Mel Gibson, “The Expendables 3”; Kelsey Grammer, “The Expendables 3,” “Legends of Oz,” “Think Like a Man Too,” “Transformers: Age of Extinction”; Shaquille O’Neal, “Blended”; Arnold Schwarzenegger, “The Expendables 3”; Kiefer Sutherland, “Pompeii.”

– Worst director: Michael Bay, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”; Darren Doane, “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”; Renny Harlin, “The Legend of Hercules”; Jonathan Liebesman, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”; Seth MacFarlane, “A Million Ways To Die in the West.”

– Worst screen combo: Kirk Cameron and his ego, “Saving Christmas”; Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron, “A Million Ways To Die in the West”; any two robots, actors (or robotic actors), “Transformers”; Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, “Sex Tape”; Kellan Lutz and either his abs, pecs or glutes, “Legend of Hercules.”

– Worst screenplay: “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”; “Left Behind”; “Sex Tape”; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”; “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

– Worst remake, rip-off or sequel: “Annie”; “Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?”; “The Legend of Hercules”; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

HRC praises Senate confirmation of presidential appointments

The U.S. Senate this week confirmed a number of presidential appointments, including several openly gay men.

The Senate confirmed Daniel Baer to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, John Berry as the ambassador to Australia, Rufus Gifford as ambassador to Denmark, James Costos as ambassador to Spain and Stuart Delery as assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division.

“Today the U.S. Senate confirmed five highly qualified nominees to important posts who happen to be gay,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “It is a testament to President Obama and the U.S. Senate that the sexual orientation of these nominees was irrelevant to their qualifications for their posts, as it should be.  All Americans should be proud to have these fine public servants representing the interests of the United States.”