World Trade Center

Sketchy Senate Stock Sales


cjones03262020

Insider trading is trading in the stock market on confidential information. It’s not just frowned upon or a no-no. It’s illegal.  It’s especially worse when done by elected officials because they’re supposed to use classified information to help the country, not help themselves.

Several senators are being accused of insider trading after dumping stocks before the coronavirus pandemic. Each senator’s defense has been, “I didn’t do it while I was doing it.” Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina is the worst offender.

Burr dumped holdings worth between $628,000 and $1.7 million in 33 separate transactions on February  13, around the same time he, as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was receiving daily briefings on the coronavirus, and after he publicly projected, in an Op-Ed for Fox News, confidence in the economy and the nation’s response to the virus. Nothing to worry about folks as he rushes to the bank to withdraw all his money. What Burr did was basically sell everything he owned. He sold, sold, sold, and didn’t buy any stocks to replace them.

Burr has denied any wrongdoing and stated he based his decisions on public news reports. How does that work? You pretend to forget what you learned from classified briefings and only retain what Wolf Blitzer told you? Keep in mind, Burr is a Republican so he totally expects people to believe grade-A bullshit.

Burr has asked the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a review of the transaction to prove his innocence. Maybe before he unloaded a bunch of stocks right after being briefed on an incoming pandemic, he should have asked himself, “Is this something that would be investigated?”

Kelly Loeffler is a Republican senator from Georgia. She sold off between $1.3 million and $3.1 million worth of stock she owned with her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, who just so happens to be chair of the New York Stock Exchange. She started selling her shit the same day, January 24, the Senate Health Committee, of which she’s a member of, hosted briefing on the coronavirus. Loeffler made 29 equities transactions, 27 were sales. One of her two purchases was a company called Citrix, which makes teleworking software, a product now in high demand. Hmmm….a senator who’s married to the Chair of the New Stock Exchange dumping stocks after classified briefings…sure. Nothing smells here.

Loeffler claims all stock decisions are not made by her or her husband, but by a third party, which many say is a blind trust. There really isn’t anything to stop someone who has a blind trust from interjecting themselves to make decisions. When politicians says they have a blind trust, all they have is their word that they’re not involved. Donald Trump’s “blind trust” is operated by his two idiot sons. If you believe Donald Trump doesn’t receive updates or still makes business decisions, then I have a bankrupted Atlantic City casino I’d like to sell you.

Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, sold $750,000 worth of stock. He said it was related to a “continuing divestiture plan.” Whatever.

California Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein, who is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sold off millions in stocks. She said all those decisions were made by her husband without her input.

It’s hard to pin insider trading on members of Congress, but it does happen. Recently, Republican Chris Collins, who was a congressman from New York, was sentenced to 23 months for insider trading.

Burr’s actions have infuriated Democrats and Republicans. Tucker Carlson has demanded his resignation, apparently confident that a Republican would win his seat in a special election in North Carolina. Tucker’s motives aren’t really that pure. He’s still upset that Burr signed off on a subpoena for Donald Trump Jr. to testify about that Trump Tower meeting with Russians. But, despite Tucker believing Burr should resign, Burr should resign.

Even if there’s nothing shady going on here, it doesn’t look good for senators to be dumping stocks right before a pandemic hits, causing a recession and forcing millions to lose their jobs. And to fully understand it better, you need to see what was sold off, what was bought, and the timing. Are Senators dumping stock in cruise lines and hotels? Are they making purchases in medicine and communication? And while we’re on the subject, is Donald Trump going to get a bailout for his bedbug hotels?

A much simpler way to deal with members of Congress and stocks is to pass legislation Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced in 2018 that would prohibit them from owning individual stocks. In a speech at the time, Warren said, “They can put their savings in conflict-free investments like mutual funds, or they can pick a different line of work.”

Would that pass? Hell no. We have a Senate run by Republicans who won’t demand that Donald Trump sell off his businesses. Remember, Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm when he became president. Despite it being illegal to profit from the office, the Senate and the Justice Department refuse to stop Donald Trump from violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause. Donald Trump isn’t just taking money from foreign governments on the sly, he announced plans to do so with his Miami resort for the G7 Summit before backing off after much criticism.

Trump’s Doral club being the best location for an international summit of world leaders is about as much of a coincidence as these senators selling stocks after classified briefings.

I agree with Senator Warren that they should all find a different line of work. I’m thinking as workers in a prison cafeteria.

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Taliban Trumps Trump


cjones09152019

I told several people, copy editors, people who watch my videos, and the girlfriend, that I was taking today off. I’m way too far ahead with my cartoons. Visit my work on GoComics and you’ll see the cartons are at least seven days behind this website (but the comments there are great). But after telling Amanda, the girlfriend, that I had an idea I really wanted to draw, she told me that I had to do it or it’d bother me all day. I hadn’t even told her the idea yet. After it was roughed out and I showed it to her, the reaction was a gritted teeth grimace. That’s when I knew I had to finish it.

Ronald Reagan said the United States does not negotiate with terrorists. The truth is, yes we do. Reagan’s own administration made illegal deals with terrorists and their sponsors. His administration even provided arms to Iran which I’m sure were never used against Israel. Despite this, Republicans continue to worship at his altar and demand their candidates live up to Reagan’s ideals, or at least they used to.

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted that he was canceling planned peace talks at Camp David with the Taliban and the president of Afghanistan over a car bombing in Kabul that killed one American and 11 others. Trump was trying to give the impression he was standing tough and refusing to negotiate with terrorists who have refused to stop committing violence.

The truth is, the United States has been in a yearlong negotiation with the Taliban and was near an agreement that would see a beginning to U.S. troops being pulled out of Afghanistan, yet the terrorist organization has never promised to stop fighting during negotiations. Americans have been killed by the Taliban during these talks before the Kabul car bombing.

So, why the Trump cancelation? The truth is, the Taliban has been balking at how the deal would be finalized and announced. It didn’t seem that talks at Camp David were going to work out, so Trump was trying to get ahead. Also, it may not have played well hosting the Taliban on U.S. soil mere days before the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack by al Qaida. Remember, the Taliban was the government in charge that allowed al Qaida to operate on their soil and refused to give them up after their attack on the U.S.

Donald Trump, who loves photo ops that illustrate his supposed great negotiating skills would have been seen mugging for the camera with terrorists on 9/11.

Was it a negotiating strategy for Trump to cancel the talks and expose a secret through a tweet? Or, was it Trump being an idiot once again?

There does need to be a peace agreement with the Taliban. There is no need to accommodate them on U.S soil to do this. In fact, the Taliban wasn’t eager to come to the U.S. For some reason, they don’t trust Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, any deal made by Donald Trump will undoubtedly favor the Taliban.

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Play Nice With Bad Guys


cjones07252018

After 9/11, President George W. Bush didn’t fly to Europe to quarrel with our allies and accuse them of not contributing enough to their defense. He didn’t go to England and tell a British tabloid that Tony Blair’s rival would make a great Prime Minister. He didn’t go to Helsinki and hold a summit, including a two-hour private chat, with the leader of the Taliban. He didn’t invite Osama bin Laden to the White House. He didn’t dispute our intelligence blaming the attack on al-Qaeda and instead say it could be other people, maybe China, or a 400-pound guy on a bed in New Jersey. He didn’t lavish praise on bin Laden while accusing the press of being the real enemy. He didn’t call the European Union a foe of the United States while calling the Taliban a competitor. He didn’t congratulate bin Laden on winning reelection to the presidency of al-Qaeda or lobby for him to be added to the G-7. He didn’t listen to any crazy ideas from bin Laden about allowing him to interrogate Americans in Afghanistan.

What George W. Bush did was climb on top of a pile of rubble that was once the World Trade Center and promise that the people responsible would be hearing from us very soon. He rallied the American people and NATO. Then we attacked the people responsible.

Bush made a lot of mistakes after that, like attacking the wrong nation a couple of years later, but he didn’t placate and massage the feelings of the guy responsible for attacking our nation.

We also changed how we do a lot of things. For starters, you can’t take box cutters and pocket knives on commercial flights anymore. You can’t even walk through security at an airport with your shoes on. What are we doing to prevent further attacks on our electoral process from Russia? Nothing.

Last week, House Republicans voted AGAINST renewing funding for election security to combat efforts by foreign powers to meddle in our elections. Donald Trump has not directed the National Security Agency to do anything to prevent Russia from attacking our elections in the future. It took Trump five months to enact sanctions against Russia after they were passed by Congress.

Of course, we shouldn’t go to war with Russia over election meddling. But, we shouldn’t be sitting around with our guard down. We should enact measures to prevent future attacks. We shouldn’t be awarding Vladimir Putin with high praise and summits. We shouldn’t be inviting him to the White House.

Russia attacked our nation. They are not our friends. Trump can’t even bring himself to criticize Putin, instead, wishing for his dictatorial powers.

If Trump was president in 2001, we would have lost further buildings, airplanes, and American lives because he doesn’t know who the bad guys are. He can’t, and refuses to recognize an attack on our nation. He would have encouraged them to attack us again.

We need to treat Russia as a foe who has attacked the United States. In fact, we should start treating Donald Trump the exact same way.

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