Commentary on faith & politics committed to the truth in Jesus Christ and in all things around us. America once loved God but has become a land fallen, in love with money.Our politicians sellout votes for money, for favor to the rich. The Religious Right embrace mammon's ideology and glorify nationalism equating politics with faith, so "of the nation" instead of just "in the nation". The Religious Left cling to the nobel cause but decline the cure so afraid of a real internal personal relationship with the heavenly Father that yearns so very much to be close to them. As it is both Right and Left are so bereft of real introspection. Pray we all have the courage to stand up for what is right in one of the toughest places to do so - our in-group. A change is coming.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Helped Create the GOP Tax Myth. Trump is Wrong: Tax Cuts Don’t Equal Growth.

The best growth in recent memory came after President Bill Clinton raised taxes in the ’90s. 

by Bruce Bartlett    

Bruce Bartlett was a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of “The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform — Why We Need It and What It Will Take."
Four decades ago, while working for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), I had a hand in creating the Republican tax myth. Of course, it didn’t seem like a myth at that time — taxes were rising rapidly because of inflation and bracket creep, the top tax rate was 70 percent and the economy seemed trapped in stagflation with no way out. Tax cuts, at that time, were an appropriate remedy for the economy’s ills. By the time Ronald Reagan was president, Republican tax gospel went something like this:
The tax system has an enormously powerful effect on economic growth and employment.
High taxes and tax rates were largely responsible for stagflation in the 1970s.
Reagan’s 1981 tax cut, which was based a bill, co-sponsored by Kemp and Sen. William Roth (R-Del.), that I helped design, unleashed the American economy and led to an abundance of growth.
Based on this logic, tax cuts became the GOP’s go-to solution for nearly every economic problem. Extravagant claims are made for any proposed tax cut. Wednesday, President Trump argued that “our country and our economy cannot take off” without the kind of tax reform he proposes. Last week, Republican economist Arthur Laffer said, “If you cut that [corporate] tax rate to 15 percent, it will pay for itself many times over. … This will bring in probably $1.5 trillion net by itself.”
That’s wishful thinking. So is most Republican rhetoric around tax cutting. In reality, there’s no evidence that a tax cut now would spur growth.
The Reagan tax cut did have a positive effect on the economy, but the prosperity of the ’80s is overrated in the Republican mind. In fact, aggregate real gross domestic product growth was higher in the ’70s — 37.2 percent vs. 35.9 percent.
Moreover, GOP tax mythology usually leaves out other factors that also contributed to growth in the 1980s: First was the sharp reduction in interest rates by the Federal Reserve. The fed funds rate fell by more than half, from about 19 percent in July 1981 to about 9 percent in November 1982. Second, Reagan’s defense buildup and highway construction programs greatly increased the federal government’s purchases of goods and services. This is textbook Keynesian economics.
[Why would anyone in Puerto Rico want a hurricane? Because someone will get rich.]
Third, there was the simple bounce-back from the recession of 1981-82. Recoveries in the postwar era tended to be V-shaped — they were as sharp as the downturns they followed. The deeper the recession, the more robust the recovery.
Finally, I’m not sure how many Republicans even know anymore that Reagan raised taxes several times after 1981. His last budget showed that as of 1988, the aggregate, cumulative revenue loss from the 1981 tax cut was $264 billion and legislated tax increases brought about half of that back.
Today, Republicans extol the virtues of lowering marginal tax rates, citing as their model the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which lowered the top individual income tax rate to just 28 percent from 50 percent, and the corporate tax rate to 34 percent from 46 percent. What follows, they say, would be an economic boon. Indeed, textbook tax theory says that lowering marginal tax rates while holding revenue constant unambiguously raises growth.
But there is no evidence showing a boost in growth from the 1986 act. The economy remained on the same track, with huge stock market crashes — 1987’s “Black Monday,” 1989’s Friday the 13th “mini-crash” and a recession beginning in 1990. Real wages fell.
Strenuous efforts by economists to find any growth effect from the 1986 act have failed to find much. The most thorough analysis, by economists Alan Auerbach and Joel Slemrod, found only a shifting of income due to tax reform, no growth effects: “The aggregate values of labor supply and saving apparently responded very little,” they concluded.
The flip-side of tax cut mythology is the notion that tax increases are an economic disaster — the reason, in theory, every Republican in Congress voted against the tax increase proposed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Yet the 1990s was the most prosperous decade in recent memory. At 37.3 percent, aggregate real GDP growth in the 1990s exceeded that in the 1980s.
Despite huge tax cuts almost annually during the George W. Bush administration that cost the Treasury trillions in revenue, according to the Congressional Budget Office, growth collapsed in the first decade of the 2000s. Real GDP rose just 19.5 percent, well below its ’90s rate.
We saw another test of the Republican tax myth in 2013, after President Barack Obama allowed some of the Bush tax cuts to expire, raising the top income tax rate to its current 39.6 percent from 35 percent. The economy grew nicely afterward and the stock market has boomed — up around 10,000 points over the past five years.
Now, Republicans propose cutting the top individual rate to 35 percent, despite lacking evidence that this lower rate led to growth during the Bush years, and a drop in the corporate tax rate to just 20 percent from 35 percent. Unlike 1986, however, this $1.5 trillion cut over the next decade will only be paid for partially by closing tax loopholes.
Republicans’ various claims are irreconcilable. One is that the rich will not benefit even though it is practically impossible for them not to — those paying the most taxes already will necessarily benefit the most from a large tax cut. And there aren’t enough tax deductions, exclusions and credits benefiting the rich that could be abolished to offset a cut in the top rate.
Even if they had released a complete plan — not just the woefully incomplete nine-page outline released Wednesday — Republicans have failed to make a sound case that it’s time to cut taxes.
Nor have they signaled that they’ll commit to a viable process. It’s worth remembering that the first version of the ’81 tax cut was introduced in 1977 and underwent thorough analysis by the CBO and other organizations, and was subject to comprehensive public hearings. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 grew out of a detailed Treasury study and took over two years to complete.
Rushing through a half-baked tax plan, in the same manner Republicans tried (and failed) to do with health-care reform, should be rejected out of hand. As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has repeatedly and correctly said, successful legislating requires a return to the “regular order.” That means a detailed proposal with proper revenue estimates and distribution tables from the Joint Committee on Taxation, hearings and analysis by the nation’s best tax experts, markups and amendments in the tax-writing committees, and an open process in the House of Representatives and Senate.
There are good arguments for a proper tax reform even if it won’t raise GDP growth. It may improve economic efficiency, administration and fairness. But getting from here to there requires heavy lifting that this Republican Congress has yet to demonstrate. If they again look for a quick, easy victory, they risk a replay of the Obamacare repeal fight that wasted so much time and yielded so little.

- Bruce Bartlett

My take: One of the most hollow things I have ever witnessed is seeing Trump up there on stage claiming his tax proposal will not notably benefit himself or the rich. This president has lied, bald-faced lied so many times on very important major issues that his speech really does ring so very hollow on honesty and integrity. He is a salesman selling without conscience for the consequences of the buyer, in this case his own people, supposedly the American people. The credibility of his words have become as tinkling brass, there is nothing there and this speech promoting his tax cut for the first time really makes him look like a joke, a charlatan. No one can believe him, leaders of nations cannot believe him or trust him.
Most perilously our enemies cannot believe him and I have particularly in mind at this juncture our friends, the people of South Korea.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

California, Hurricanes, Trumpathos, N. Korea And A Little Wisdom

As I left for California, Hurricane Harvey was moving out of Texas, which allowed me to feel good about my grand daughter that lives north of Houston, and Hurricane Irma was yet to hit Florida. Hurricane Jose could have done more damage but Hurricane Maria has devastated the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth. It's citizens are U.S. citizens. If you really believe in patriotism and all people are created equal it would be a good time to utilize it

Donald Trump is dissing NFL football players that protest during the national anthem. He claims his objection is not racist but he said these players are son of a bitches before the public at a rally in Alabama. The key location is Alabama. These players are virtually all black protesting unequal treatment on black people by the police. Trump made his statement with fervor and passionate hand gestures in front of a crowd in Alabama, the capitol of racism in America. What are we supposed to be stupid or what?
Otherwise of course this is a diversion from his ongoing political failings and he made the reckless sensationalist warble when he fully knew the new Republican Graham Cassidy Obamacare repeal was going to fail. Some things of course cannot be ignored and this sad pathetic excuse for a president knows it and exploits it.

Trump is also trying to goad North Korean leader Kim Jung Un into making the wrong move as Trump needs a new Korean war to "solve" his political unpopularity and congressional gridlock.
War can perform psychological wonders on a people, most of it perilously mesmerizing benefiting the leader and his will in the meltdown of political gridlock - the inevitable Trump solution.
There will be a new Korean war albeit a very quick one and it will essentially get Trump a second term as president....let's just say that's what i think.

I thought the GOP would stop terrorizing poor and low-income families with the loss of their healthcare and I was ready to move on with writing about something else besides politics but the repeal effort did not stop in June. Now hopefully and prayerfully the Graham Cassidy Obamacare repeal effort is dead. John McCain was once on my list of highly rated people but then he compromised to be a presidential candidate however he has honorably returned to save the day now twice by voting no on the Republican's repeal efforts. McCain is right and he is right that it is high time Republicans and Democrats work together to make the ACA work effectively and that means stop trying to undermine it to fail. It is time to grow up and work together.

You cannot go very long in this country without some stupidity raising it's ugly head again and it's particularly true when a foul mouthed dolt like Trump is president. I really don't feel like writing about any of this type stuff right now but when there is so often stuff about which stuff needs to be said something has to be said but it is not going on much longer here. Will all the high profile negative news makers just take a break. Take a break. Get Trump a teaser.

Steering for a break in the clouds.

An important quote to consider about now:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible 
will make violent revolution inevitable.
- John F. Kennedy

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Greetings From California, The Bay Area, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Levi Stadium.

My sister Ann passed away recently and so I made the trek out to the west coast to deal with that and visit my long lost nephew but more like a brother, Ross. and my other nephew Gregory. My sister and I loved each other very much. I could not have had a better sis on almost every level. Both Ross and Gregory said they needed me out there now to help and so it was on. There is a lot of backstory here I will cover another time but we had a great time and accomplished what we could.

In the neighborhood my sister lived and nephew lives, that is until the house is sold, it is so clean and nice with all manner of palm trees and exotic flora. The streets, yards and all just seem to have this aura of cleanliness and freshness. Santa Clara has a temperate climate with temps between 60 and 90 degrees all year long, light winds and breezes off the pacific ocean...very nice indeed. There is no polluted air and you know when it is going to rain and not rain. If you like to go outside without your hair blowing all over the place it is possible here. You can plan and get things done here.
The trip out was eventful. The fast and furious auto maneuver God made(maybe i helped, maybe i did something with the steering wheel, whew!) west of Flagstaff in order to avoid an I-40 catastrophic multiple car crash should be on someone's video since the opposing lanes were sitting still, stopped in a traffic jam. Tires were squealing as i barely made it around the back of a pickup that strangely and slowly pulled horizontally and directly out onto i-40 in front of me and another car. We were going top highway speed coming down mountain. It was just as if the person in that pickup pulled it out onto the interstate to purposefully cause an accident only 30 yards ahead in the middle of the two lanes.
Would have swore i heard cheering as i crazy swerved to avoid the back of the pickup. If only the car had a dash cam but then just watching that would dangerously raise the heart rate.
Was probably on Arizona TV.

All that just kept the blood flowing, the beauty and breathtaking nature of the trip took care of the rest.






My long lost nephew Ross(was Rossy back then)

Mac's (Ross's dad)
pristine condition 48 star American flag.
Mac also worked at Lockheed,
helped design the Hubble Space telescope.

Lindy my deceased niece and son Gregory(living 23 now)

Ross about 10 yrs. earlier in Fresno. Got a problem wit dat?
Silicon Valley's coolest park


The Bakersfield I-5 California HighwayVideos
(or road music in the great expanse)


video video video

A few last takes

Could have put them all here, Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, Apple.
 All and more were in a mile of my sister's house.
It is after all why they call it Silicon Valley.

The name stinks



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pray For The People Of Houston, Hit By ‘Catastrophic’ Flooding, As Harvey Crosses Texas (Latest Images From Houston)

Pray for the people in the path of Hurricane Harvey. This is a storm of immense proportions not so much by size but by stationary duration. The storm is affecting areas from San Antonio to Corpus Christi but the amount of rainfall is particularly heavy in the Houston area and some have characterized it as unprecedented and even biblical in it's amount of rainfall and effect.

Houston, the capital of the US oil and gas industry, was struggling on Monday to assess the damage caused by “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding as Tropical Storm Harvey brought torrential rains to much of the Texas coast and into Louisiana. Harvey weakened from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 1 tropical storm after making landfall near the port of Corpus Christi on Friday night, but over the weekend brought heavy rain to Houston 150 miles away to the north-east. Further downpours brought the total rainfall levels close to 40 inches in Dayton, to the northeast of Houston, by Monday morning. Brock Long, the recently appointed head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on Monday morning said he expected more than 30,000 people to be placed in temporary shelters as a result of the flooding and more than 450,000 people to seek disaster assistance due to flooding. FEMA deployed 1,800 staff, as security forces in the area were bolstered by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

 Army engineers began releasing water from reservoirs in the west of the city early on Monday morning in an effort to slow the flooding of Houston’s city centre. Schools, airports and offices were ordered to shut, while mandatory evacuations began late on Sunday night in some areas. An emergency has also been declared in the neighbouring state of Louisiana, the White House confirmed on Monday, authorising federal assistance to local relief efforts. The US National Hurricane Center has warned that an “unprecedented” 50 inches of rain could fall in some areas by Friday. It said record flooding was expected in many parts of south-east Texas, creating a “life-threatening situation”, with heavy rain expected to continue until at least Wednesday. More than 27 inches of rain fell in 24 hours in some areas, with 35 inches expected by Sunday evening, the National Weather Service said. “This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced,” it said in a tweet. “What we’re seeing is the most devastating flood event in Houston’s recorded history,” Steve Bowen, chief meteorologist at reinsurance company Aon Benfield, told Reuters.

Many residents of the fourth-biggest city in the US were obliged to flee their homes in boats or rescue helicopters as the floodwaters rose. The Insurance Information Institute said flood damage could match that caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the National Flood Insurance Program paid out more than $15bn, Reuters reported. The storm is the first big natural disaster to hit the US since Donald Trump became president, and will be a test of the federal government’s ability to respond to complex challenges under the new administration. Mr Trump tweeted his appreciation for the “wonderful co-ordination” between federal, state and local government agencies. The White House said he would go to Texas on Tuesday. - Ed Crooks

In case you haven't got the breadth and depth of the catastrophe in Houston take a look at some of these pics. This is happening right now and more heavy rain is forecast as Hurricane Harvey restrengthens off shore and comes back.

Pray for these people there and pray that any hidden or trapped people will be found. Pray the Holy Spirit will guide all these rescue workers to the right places and pray rain will let up so rescue workers can get in and save any and all from drowning. Pray for the salvation of as many as possible through this disaster. Such storms and devastation are the result of man's sin and the resulting fallen world but God loves and has compassion on these people and seeks to deliver them from this and from this falling world. 
And pray for President Donald Trump. We may not like his behavior or his policies but he is under the power of this world like so many. Satan has convinced him he is "the man"and that the real stock is in material things and accomplishment but such a mental and spiritual bondage can be the strongest of ball and chains. Because you would also have it this way for yourself pray those chains will be broken and pray that dark spirit will be broken as easily as possible. Pray that Donald Trump will relent and repent to the Lord God our Father in heaven and receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I think when he realizes that's where it's at he will go for it quickly as so many have and will. For every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Trump Decides To Use Hurricane Harvey As Cover To Pardon Fellow Birther And Racial Profiler Joe Arpaio

The reports begin coming in from the National Weather Service Thursday and Friday about the approach of Hurricane Harvey and the unprecedented devastation it may cause. One report after another comes in as each one gets more and more horrific in it's predictions, the stage is clearly set for Texas and it's coastal areas to get blasted beyond anything experienced before and so President Trump is jumping on the oncoming disaster to use it as a cover for very controversial actions he has held off on, most notably the pardon of Joe Arpaio. Hoping the news coverage of Hurricane Harvey would drown out expected wide-spread criticism, even from his own political party, Trump takes his focus off this historically devastating hurricane and on to his own controversial political concerns.

You would think most people would only go so far with so much pushing of extremely controversial racist hinted comments and statements but even in the face of such monumental catastrophic oncoming disaster of which Trump should be wholly and laser focused on, he, undaunted by the debacle in Charlotteville and then Phoenix, both full of racist inuendo and inference, goes ahead and seeks advantage in the diversion of a catastrophe to pardon Joe Arpaio who ran a relentless and brutal campaign to detain undocumented immigrants. The sheriff used chain gangs and prison tent cities during Arizona’s scorching summers, bringing scores of legal claims he violated the constitutional rights of Latinos. The Federal court agreed with the claims.

“For the majority of Latinos, Joe Arpaio is a symbol of racism, of discrimination, of anti-Hispanic sentiment, or anti-immigrant sentiment, of abuse of power, and this is the guy Donald Trump chose to pardon,” said Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist.

For some Joe Arpaio is most notably known for his birther stance against President Obama. Next to Trump, Arpaio is the second leading proponet of the birther issue.

So this is the president you now have. One that will instead of wholly focusing on preparing to deal with the thousands of people in life threatening situations in southern Texas, focuses on political advantage for himself and on of all things a sheriff convicted of racially profiling in contempt of court and his birther buddy and all of this in the aftermath of racial inflammation in Charlotteville and Phoenix.

All this should inform you that Trump will use the most scurrilous and devious tactics to benefit himself and his political standing and most likely before it is all over will resort to use of a conflict somewhere, somehow to take the heat off himself as the Russia investigation bears down on him, no pun intended.
In short, people will come second and Trump first. In this life

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bannon Calls Trump's Supremacist Supporters Clowns, Freaks And Goobers. The North Korea "Got Us" Was Just Icing On The Cake

How's the "Everything is going great" thing going?
Get this; The news headlines have been all about Trump and his attempt at moral equivalency between the two protesting groups in Charlotteville, Virginia. You might add here that the Governor of Virginia has requested Trump stay clear of Virginia.

So what is happening here? It appears the Trump administration is on the fringe of major breakdown but that is not the case. The case is that this is providing great cover for the escalating Paul Manafort inquiry taking place right now in the Mueller investigation of Trump involvement in the Russia meddling but more on that later.

After Nazi, KKK and other fringe white supremacists descended or should I say ascended up to Charlotteville Va. to push hate and emphasize the lesser elements of human expression they were met with counterprotesters. Fights broke out after the KKKers left their designated areas. Seeing that both groups were involved in these skermishes President Trump in effect tried to cast both of them as equals. A white supremacist drove his car into a group of counter protesters injuring many and killing one girl and Trump can do no better than entertain some kind of moral equivalency between protesters protesting hate and the hating protesters. Trump's base is made up of many of these hating protesters.

So in the midst of this debacle it is revealed that Steve Bannon gave an interview with Robert Kuttner and Joshua Green, both taped by the way, demonstrating Bannon's true opinion of these white supremacist supporters of Trump.

This interview was revealed on PBS and can be seen here -

Keep in mind the white supremacist protesters so often praised Trump and indicated they thought he was on their side. Bannon in his interview in which he did not designate to be off the record revealed that he thought these white supremacist protesters and others like them were clowns, freaks and a bunch of goobers and indicated they were being used by the Trump administration as pawns in pursuit of Trumps own agenda.
Bob Dylan would be so proud considering the lyrics from his song "Only A Pawn In Their Game" which so clearly indicts this strategy of the Trump administration as we speak, poor white racist dogs-on-a-chain pawns, political manipulation, the game, all of it.
Or in this case, Bannon didn't say that.
So essentially Bannon was caught dissing down on Trump's own base of supporters and the ones Trump knows will be po'd more so than many. Really PO'ed if you know what I mean. Bannon called them freaks, clowns and goobers.
There was no way Bannon, the "alt right commander' could stay on after mocking and insulting so many of these, the followers of Trump and the "alt right commander". The bro-loyal trust was kicked to the curb big time and so something had to give. Man, does it get any better than this,lol.

So you see the day after that revelation about Bannon came out which was yesterday, Bannon is gone. Oh yes he was on the block but with that he is gone, bannoshed.

From the interview Bannon also was caught saying North Korea has "got us" because of the potential for South Korean casualities in the event of aggression by the North. General John Kelly surely wasn't pleased knowing a nation's leadership doesn't let the enemy know they "got us" in any military scenario although anyone on that tactical chessboard should have realized that. That little revelation was however just icing on the cake.

The PBS interview occurs yesterday and today Bannon is out. The lesser lesson is no doubt you don't say the enemy has "got us" before they got us and the greater lesson is you don't diss on Trump's beloved base of clowns, freaks and goobers but don't take it from me, just ask Steve Bannon.

- Doug Yearight

Facebook Shuts AI system After Bots Speak Their Own Language, Defy Human Instructions

Days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that artificial intelligence (AI) was the biggest risk, Facebook has shut down one of its AI systems after chatbots started speaking in their own language defying the codes provided.

According to a report in Tech Times on Sunday, the social media giant had to pull the plug on the AI system that its researchers were working on “because things got out of hand”.

“The AI did not start shutting down computers worldwide or something of the sort, but it stopped using English and started using a language that it created,” the report noted.

Initially the AI agents used English to converse with each other but they later created a new language that only AI systems could understand, thus, defying their purpose.

This led Facebook researchers to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English.

In June, researchers from the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that while they were busy trying to improve chatbots, the “dialogue agents” were creating their own language.

Soon, the bots began to deviate from the scripted norms and started communicating in an entirely new language which they created without human input, media reports said.

Using machine learning algorithms, the “dialogue agents” were left to converse freely in an attempt to strengthen their conversational skills.

The researchers also found these bots to be “incredibly crafty negotiators”.

“After learning to negotiate, the bots relied on machine learning and advanced strategies in an attempt to improve the outcome of these negotiations,” the report said.

“Over time, the bots became quite skilled at it and even began feigning interest in one item in order to ‘sacrifice’ it at a later stage in the negotiation as a faux compromise,” it added.

Although this appears to be a huge leap for AI, several experts including Professor Stephen Hawking have raised fears that humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, could be superseded by AI.

Others like Tesla’s Elon Musk, philanthropist Bill Gates and ex-Apple founder Steve Wozniak have also expressed their concerns about where the AI technology was heading.

Interestingly, this incident took place just days after a verbal spat between Facebook CEO and Musk who exchanged harsh words over a debate on the future of AI.

“I’ve talked to Mark about this (AI). His understanding of the subject is limited,” Musk tweeted last week.

The tweet came after Zuckerberg, during a Facebook livestream earlier this month, castigated Musk for arguing that care and regulation was needed to safeguard the future if AI becomes mainstream.

“I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios -- I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible,” Zuckerberg said.

Musk has been speaking frequently on AI and has called its progress the “biggest risk we face as a civilisation”.

“AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive because if we’re reactive in AI regulation it’s too late,” he said.

-Indo Asian News Service, San Francisco

Fox News Hit With Bombshell New Lawsuit Alleging White House Reviewed False Story & Pushed It's Publication

White House reviewed Fox News story about Seth Rich before publication, lawsuit alleges

President Trump and White House officials allegedly reviewed a Fox News story about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich before it was published and pushed for it to be published "immediately," according to an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The May 16 article, which allegedly contained fabricated quotes and was later retracted, fueled conspiracy theories that Rich was murdered in connection with a massive WikiLeaks data dump of 20,000 DNC emails.

In a stunning twist, the suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, alleges that then—White House press secretary Sean Spicer met with two Fox News contributors in April about the Rich murder and "asked to be kept abreast of developments."

"The motivation behind the article: establish that Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails to shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election," the suit says.
Spicer confirmed to ABC News that he met with Dallas financial adviser Ed Butowsky, who was identified in the lawsuit as a "frequent contributor for Fox News."

"Ed is longtime supporter of the president's agenda who often appears in the media. He asked for a 10 minute meeting, with no specified topic, to catch up and said he would be bringing along a contributor to Fox News. As Ed himself has noted, he has never met the president, and the White House had nothing to do with his story," Spicer said in a statement.

According to the lawsuit, filed by Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler, Fox News investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman wrote in her article that Rich provided DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential primaries.

The Fox News network and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, were named in the lawsuit, as were Zimmerman and Butowsky. The suit alleges defamation and racial discrimination. Zimmerman declined to comment, according to a Fox spokesperson.

NPR was the first to report on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit includes a screenshot of a text message, dated May 14, allegedly from Butowsky to Wheeler, that reads, "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you. But don't feel the pressure."
The story was published on the Fox News website less than 36 hours after the text was sent, according to the lawsuit.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters today that Trump had "no knowledge" of the Rich article published by Fox News and dismissed any claims of White House involvement.
Just before Butowsky allegedly sent the text message, he purportedly left a voicemail for Wheeler in which he said, according to the lawsuit, "A couple minutes ago, I got a note that we have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let's close this deal, whatever we've got to do. But you can feel free to say that the White House is onto this now."

According to the lawsuit, Zimmerman, "with the knowledge and support of Butowsky," fabricated two quotes included in the story and attributed them to Wheeler, the only named source in the article.

According to the lawsuit, the article quotes Wheeler as saying, "My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks" and "My investigation shows someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward. That is unfortunate. Seth Rich's murder is unsolved as a result of that." Wheeler has denied making those comments.

Shortly after the article was published, Wheeler says, he called Butowsky and demanded an explanation for the fabricated statements. Butowsky said the statements were falsely attributed to Wheeler because "that is the way the president wanted the article," the complaint states.

Days later, Butowsky allegedly wrote to Zimmerman, "I didn't tell you yet but the federal government is involved at this moment, behind the scenes and believe your story," according to the lawsuit.

Fox News retracted the story on May 23, according to the complaint. A statement from Fox News President Jay Wallace, which was provided to ABC News, said accusations that the story was published to deflect attention from coverage of Trump associates' possible collusion with Russia was "completely erroneous."

"The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally, and we have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman," Wallace said. "Additionally, Fox News vehemently denies the race discrimination claims in the lawsuit. The dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race."

The lawsuit alleges that the motivation behind the Fox News article was to "establish that Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails to shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election."

In February 2017, Butowsky introduced himself to Wheeler and offered to bankroll an investigation into Rich's murder, the lawsuit alleges. Butowsky's intention was to confirm that Rich was behind leaks and prove that he was "murdered by a Democrat operative because he leaked the emails to WikiLeaks," the lawsuit alleges.

Rich, 27, was shot and killed on July 10, 2016, near his home in Washington, D.C. On July 22, WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 emails from the accounts of seven DNC officials. In May, officials familiar with the investigation into Rich's death told ABC News that his murder was determined to be an attempted robbery gone wrong and that the FBI was not investigating it further.

The lawsuit alleges that Zimmerman and Butowsky "were not in this alone." In the months leading up to the May 16 article, Butowsky kept in "regular contact" with senior members of the Trump administration, according to the lawsuit.

Fox did not clear Wheeler's name or admit that Zimmerman misquoted him, according to the lawsuit, which claims that Wheeler suffered "irreparable damage to his reputation" and that his career "will likely never recover" as a result.
"Mr. Wheeler was subsequently forced to correct the false record, and, as a result, lost all credibility in the eyes of the public," according to the lawsuit.

In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit is seeking an injunction permanently restraining Fox News from engaging in "any such further unlawful conduct," an order directing Fox News to place Wheeler "in the position he would have occupied" if it had not been for the media company's "defamatory and discriminatory conduct," and a "declaratory judgment that the actions, conduct and practices" of Fox News violated U.S. and New York state laws.

In response to the lawsuit, Butowsky told ABC News that while he knows people at the White House, "I never talked to the president in my life."
He called Wheeler a "liar" and claimed he was attempting to get a job at the White House.
In a statement, the Rich family said it hopes the lawsuit brings closure to his death.

"While we can't speak to the evidence that you now have, we are hopeful that this brings an end to what has been the most emotionally difficult time in our lives and an end to conspiracy theories surrounding our beloved Seth," the family said in a statement.
-Tom Llamas and Michael DelMoro