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News of US politics

Trump + Ricketts = Don’t Buy Tickets – In Flickr Explore

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Another photo of mine made it into Flickr Explore (click to embiggen)

Trump + Ricketts = Don't Buy Tickets

Trump + Ricketts = Don’t Buy Tickets

Formula checks out.

I went to the Trump Tower protest 10/28/19, and took a few snapshots of the crowd and of various signs. Trump was in town to besmirch Chicago, make fun of people who have died of gun violence, and then fundraise with his buddy Todd Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs. Trump wasn’t welcomed as much as he was jeered.

Dahleen Glanton of the Chicago Tribune:

The people outside Trump’s comfort zone were as different as America allows each of us to be. And they were united in a single goal — to let Trump know that he’s not welcome in Chicago. Even if he didn’t see it, maybe, at least, he sensed it.

It is obvious that Trump doesn’t like Chicago. He has no use for voters here. In 2016, Trump won only 38% of the vote in Illinois, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 55%. Buoyed by Chicago, Clinton got a whopping 74% of the vote in Cook County, compared to Trump’s embarrassing 21%.

There is no way he can count on Chicago in 2020, so he’s resigned to making our city a punching bag.
On his first visit to Chicago since becoming president, Trump wasted no time trashing our city. Speaking to a gathering of international chiefs of police, he again compared Chicago to Afghanistan, saying that the war-torn nation is a “safe place by comparison” and declaring that Chicago is “embarrassing to us as a nation.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot struck back, calling his attack “insulting, ignorant buffoonery.”

That was mild, though, compared to what other Chicagoans were saying.
The overwhelming sentiment at the rally, which turned into an impromptu march through downtown picking up cheering bystanders along the way, was not only that Trump should be impeached, but also that he needs to be in jail.
The chants were loud and fierce, often accompanied by a drumbeat.
“Lock him up!” “This is what democracy looks like!” “Hey, Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” “Democracy is under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

 

(click here to continue reading Column: Chicago threw a great protest rally for Donald Trump. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to see it. – Chicago Tribune.)

AP reports:

While in Chicago, Trump headlined a campaign luncheon at his hotel in the city, raising approximately $4 million for a joint fundraising committee benefiting Trump’s reelection effort and the Republican National Committee, according to the GOP.

Thousands of demonstrators rallied outside the hotel, waving colorful signs that said “Impeach Trump Now” and “Quid Pro Quo Trump Must Go.” They also shouted chants such as “Lock him up” and “Trump must go.”

Some said they came to protest out of a fear for the country they have never felt before.

“It will take decades to put things back in place,” said Caroline Mooney, a 61-year-old marketing analyst from the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park.

“If something doesn’t happen next November, we may not recover,” said her friend Steve Schaibley, who drove 2-1 / 2 hours from Livingston County.

(click here to continue reading Trump calls Chicago an embarrassment to U.S. | State News | news-gazette.com.)

Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times:

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, the Republican National Committee finance chair, will oversee fundraising for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign as the two organizations merge their 2020 efforts, the RNC announced Friday.

Ricketts, a Wilmette resident, took over RNC fundraising duties in January 2018. The RNC appointment came after Ricketts withdrew his name to be deputy commerce secretary because it was too complicated to untangle his finances.

Under Trump, the RNC and the Trump bid for a second term will fundraise under a unified joint flag called the Trump Victory Committee.

“I am honored to continue to support President Trump and the Republican Party through the Trump Victory Committee,” Ricketts said in a statement. “As we head toward 2020, I will work to ensure President Trump and his campaign have the resources they need

(click here to continue reading Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts to run President Trump’s re-election fundraising.)

Some other of my photos of the protest:

Trump - Black Lives Matter

Trump – Black Lives Matter

Traitor Go Back To Moscow

Traitor Go Back To Moscow

Great Impeachment, Robin!

Great Impeachment, Robin! Batman and Robin showed up to protest the Dotard

Impeach Trump

Impeach Trump

Get Out Trump

Get Out Trump

Make America Great Again - Deport Trump

Make America Great Again – Deport Trump

Written by Seth Anderson

October 30th, 2019 at 6:59 am

Nevada Considering Joining National Popular Vote compact

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Voting Elevators to 5th

NPR reports:

According to the National Popular Vote organization, which oversees efforts to persuade states to join the compact, 14 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to pledge their 189 electors to the winner of the national popular vote — regardless of which candidate won the state. Nevada, with its six electoral votes, would bring the total to 195. Once 270 electors are pledged, the compact would kick in.

The effort is part of a national movement to neuter the Electoral College and give more weight to the popular vote. Democrats in particular have been stung by the Electoral College, which effectively gives disproportional voting power to smaller, rural states that tend to vote Republican. In addition to President Trump, George W. Bush also won the White House without winning the popular vote.

Nevada’s Senate vote to join the agreement was 12-8, entirely along party lines. Every Republican voted against the proposal. Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has not indicated whether he will sign the measure into law.

As NPR has reported, the popular vote movement seems to be gathering steam. In February, 11 states were on board. Since then, Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico have signed on.

(click here to continue reading Nevada May Break Up With The Electoral College : NPR.)

I’m ok with circumventing the Electoral College. We’ve changed many things about elections over the decades since 1776, and the Electoral College is another relic from our racist past, and should be set aside.

Video explainer…

Here’s a longer explanation via:

The National Popular Vote interstate compact would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The bill is a constitutionally conservative, state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.

The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by 15 jurisdictions possessing 189 electoral votes, including 5 small jurisdictions (RI, VT, HI, DC, DE), 6 medium- size states (MD, MA, NM, WA, CT, CO), and four big states (NJ, IL, NY, CA). The bill will take effect when enacted by states with 81 more electoral votes.  The bill has passed at least one chamber in 9 additional states with 82 more electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, OK, OR).  A total of 3,357 state legislators from all 50 states have endorsed it.

The shortcomings of the current system of electing the President stem from “winner-take-all” laws that have been enacted by state legislatures in 48 states. These laws award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each state.

Because of these state winner-take-all statutes, presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the issues of concern to voters in states where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion. In 2012, as shown on the map, all of the  253 general-election campaign events were in just 12 states, and two-thirds were in just 4 states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa). Thirty-eight states were completely ignored.

The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1) gives the states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes is state law. It is not in the U.S. Constitution. The winner-take-all rule was used by only three states in 1789, and all three repealed it by 1800. It was not until the 11th presidential election (1828) that even half the states used winner-take-all laws.

The National Popular Vote interstate compact will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538).  At that time, every voter in the country will acquire a direct vote for a group of at least 270 presidential electors supporting their choice for President.  All of this group of 270+ presidential electors will be supporters of the candidate who received the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC—thus making that candidate President.

In contrast, under the current system, a voter has a direct voice in electing only the small number of presidential electors to which their state is entitled.  Under NPV, every voter directly elects 270+ electors.

National Popular Vote’s Advisory Board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R–UT), Birch Bayh (D–IN), and David Durenberger (R–MN); former Congressmen John Anderson (R–IL, I), John Buchanan (R–AL), Tom Campbell (R–CA), and Tom Downey (D–NY). Other supporters include former Governor Howard Dean (D–VT), House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), and Governor Jim Edgar (R–IL).

Written by Seth Anderson

May 22nd, 2019 at 10:48 am

Why aren’t Trump and Republicans pilloried for failing to ‘reach out’?

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Lichen Lower Yurtistan

The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman writes:

The presidential campaign has begun, which means that Democrats are being asked again and again why they aren’t doing more to “reach out” to Republicans. But there’s something important missing from this discussion: any acknowledgement that we treat this subject with an absolutely ridiculous double standard.

…The only problem with that as a reason for appearing on a network that is a propaganda organ for the White House is that it implicitly assumes that there’s just no other way to talk to conservatives besides going on Fox.

But consider this: When was the last time you heard some chin-scratching pundit say that President Trump will never be able to reach liberals if he doesn’t go on MSNBC?

The fact that you’ve never heard anyone say that isn’t just because of how we think about the media choices politicians make. It’s because of something even more fundamental. Nobody asks whether going on MSNBC is the best way for Trump to talk to liberals because nobody even suggests that Trump should talk to liberals in the first place.

And while it’s true that we’ve never seen a president more contemptuous of people who didn’t vote for him and more singularly focused on pleasing his base than Donald Trump, this applies to the whole Republican Party. We may discuss the demographic challenges the GOP faces as the party of white people in an increasingly diverse America, and what effect it might have on the next election.

(click here to continue reading Why aren’t Trump and Republicans pilloried for failing to ‘reach out’? – The Washington Post.)

This is such a good point. I saw statistics about how often Democrats appear on Fox vs. Republicans appearing on MSNBC, and while that is not a perfectly balanced comparison1 the numbers are quite significant. I don’t have the exact numbers, but I recall it was something to the order of Democrats being 300% more likely to appear on Fox than Republicans on MSNBC.

Do Republicans even give interviews to left-leaning comedy hosts like Stephen Colbert or John Oliver? Nope, rarely, they only speak to the Fox nation, and are not criticized for this decision.

Sit And Listen To The Rain

Elizabeth Warren is right to call out Fox:

In the harshest criticism to date from a presidential contender against Fox News, Ms. Warren used a series of Twitter messages to accuse the network of giving “a megaphone to racists and conspiracists” and providing cover for corruption. She also returned to one of her campaign’s central themes, framing the channel as the sort of corporate “profit machine” she has railed against.

“Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet,” Ms. Warren wrote. “It’s all about dragging in ad money — big ad money.”

“A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it’s safe to buy ads on Fox,” she continued. “I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate.”

(click here to continue reading Warren Calls Fox News a ‘Hate-for-Profit Racket’ and Refuses an Appearance – The New York Times.)

The Shadow Investigates Barton Springs 

Footnotes:
  1. meaning that MSNBC is not Democratic “State TV” in the way that Fox News is []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 22nd, 2019 at 9:19 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Before Trump’s purge at DHS, top officials challenged plan for mass family arrests

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No Alien is Illegal

The Washington Post reports:

In the weeks before they were ousted last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration enforcement official Ronald Vitiello challenged a secret White House plan to arrest thousands of parents and children in a blitz operation against migrants in 10 major U.S. cities.

Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence were especially supportive of the plan, officials said, eager to execute dramatic, highly visible mass arrests that they argued would help deter the soaring influx of families.

The arrests were planned for New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and the other largest U.S. destinations for Central American migrants. Though some of the cities are considered “sanctuary” jurisdictions with police departments that do not cooperate with ICE, the plan did not single out those locations, officials said.

ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations branch had an initial target list of 2,500 adults and children, but the plan, which remains under consideration, was viewed as a first step toward arresting as many as 10,000 migrants. The vast majority of families who have crossed the border in the past 18 months seeking asylum remain in the country, awaiting a court date or in defiance of deportation orders.

(click here to continue reading Before Trump’s purge at DHS, top officials challenged plan for mass family arrests – The Washington Post.)

Legality ≠ Morality

How much of a villain are you when you make Kirstjen “Children in Cages” Nielsen pause? Stephen Miller is an evil man, and proud of his evil. One wonders how did he turn out that way, coming from a liberal Jewish family in liberal Santa Monica, California? Per Wikipedia, a teen-aged Miller read a book by Wayne LaPierre, NRA gun nut, and became a member of the Conservative Clan of Perpetually Angry Curmudgeons.

Immigration was ok for Miller’s ancestors though:

His mother’s ancestors Wolf Lieb Glotzer and his wife, Bessie, immigrated to the United States from the Russian Empire’s Antopol, in what is present-day Belarus, arriving in New York on January 7, 1903, on the German ship S.S. Motke and thus escaping the 1903–06 anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire. When his great-grandmother arrived in the US in 1906, she spoke only Yiddish, the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe.

Declaration of Immigration

Or as Rob Eshman of Jewish Journal puts it:

And for Miller to say his family came to America “legally” is simply a ruse. There was no illegal immigration at the turn of the century, because all non-Asian immigration was essentially legal until the 1920s.

Then, as now, angry voices fought to keep these immigrants out. They organized the Immigration Restriction League, focused on shutting the ports to swarthy Italians and Jews.

“The floodgates are open,” wrote one anti-immigrant newspaper editor as the Eastern European Jews docked in New York. “The horde of $9.60 steerage slime is being siphoned upon us from Continental mud tanks.”

Such sentiments led to the Immigration Quota Act of 1924 — which effectively shut the door to Jewish immigration on the eve of the Holocaust.

(click here to continue reading Stephen Miller, meet your immigrant great-grandfather | Jewish Journal.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 14th, 2019 at 8:57 am

Trump Erroneously Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem

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Shrieks and Secrets

The New York Times reports:

President Trump has adopted a blunt new message in recent days for migrants seeking refuge in the United States: “Our country is full.”

To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists.

They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely “full” — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances.

Local officials in many of those places view a shrinking population and work force as an existential problem with few obvious solutions.

(click here to continue reading Trump Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem. – The New York Times.)

East 44

This is among the most ridiculous assertions to base a governmental policy upon that I can recall. Immigration should be stopped completely because there is no room for new people? Trump and his Rasputin, Stephen Miller, base this on what exactly? Trump has a history of flying in to a city to “perform” one of his patented rallies, then flying back home the same night. 

In other words, Trump has not apparently spent much time in places that don’t have airports large enough to accommodate his plane. If he ever took a driving trip through rural America, he’d find there is a lot of empty space, in pretty much every state in America. Even New York/New Jersey has plenty of farmland and small towns! 

I’ve been lucky to have visited nearly every state in the US (missing the North East – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire – and inexplicably, Colorado and Utah), hard-working immigrants could boost America’s economy in all sorts of ways, if racism and fear didn’t intercede, obviously.

Even downtown Manhattan, which Trump knows well, and is quite crowded, seems to do well with immigrants. Or what about Detroit? Or Chicago? Lots of room for new, vibrant communities. 

Ready for the Open Road

Ready For The Open Road

America is a vast country, mostly empty, on average, which is why I like John Lettieri’s idea of a “Heartland visa”:

A particular fear, said John Lettieri, president of the Economic Innovation Group, is that declining population, falling home prices and weak public finances will create a vicious cycle that the places losing population could find hard to escape.

He proposes a program of “heartland visas,” in which skilled immigrants could obtain work visas to the United States on the condition they live in one of the counties facing demographic decline — with troubled counties themselves deciding whether to participate.

Although some of the areas with declining demographics are hostile to immigration, others, cities as varied as Baltimore, Indianapolis and Fargo, N.D., have embraced the strategy of encouraging it.

Hay Bales

Written by Seth Anderson

April 9th, 2019 at 9:43 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Trump Crackdown Unnerves Immigrants, and the Farmers Who Rely on Them

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!!!PMURT KCUF

The New York Times reports:

Last fall, Victor Pacheco, the foreman on Ms. Raby’s family farm for 23 years, was detained by ICE agents and deported to Mexico.

Ms. Raby has struggled to find a foreman skilled enough to manage her vineyard, where the grapevines are now dusted in a light coat of snow and in need of winter pruning. This has left her uncertain about the future of their family farm and the president she helped vote into office.

“I still agree with Trump in a lot of ways, but I’m more on the fence about him now,” Ms. Raby said. “I don’t want to lose the immigrants who are working here and growing our food.”

(click here to continue reading Trump Crackdown Unnerves Immigrants, and the Farmers Who Rely on Them – The New York Times.)

I hope someone is planning on writing a book based on the numerous Trump voters who ended up getting screwed by Trump-enabled GOP orthodoxy, like this woman. It’s basically a cliché by this point.

I Am Going To Eat You - Paul Noth

But I’m also firmly of the belief that Trump-bots like Ms. Raby don’t deserve much sympathy. Trump isn’t subtle, he said what he was going to do, and then he did it. His announcement that he was running for president was built upon racist demagoguery, but Ms. Raby was ok with that, and all the subsequent racism was fine, up until her own business got decimated. Then she has doubts.

As to the bigger story, American agriculture depends upon low paid workers from other countries, mostly Mexico. If Trump and Stephen Miller get their way, we won’t be able to eat anything other than processed meat from McDonald’s because there won’t be anyone to pick the crops.

HOMER, N.Y. — The fears weigh on Mike McMahon: If one of his undocumented workers gets a traffic ticket, it could prompt an immigration audit of his entire farm. If another gets detained by immigration agents at a roadside checkpoint or in a supermarket parking lot, the rest may flee. And if his undocumented work force disappears overnight, there is no one to replace them.

“It keeps me up at night,” said Mr. McMahon, who owns a dairy farm south of Syracuse. “There are people out there who just say, ‘Send them all back and build a wall.’ But they would be facing empty shelves in the grocery store if that were to happen.”

It has long been an open secret in upstate New York that the dairy industry has been able to survive only by relying on undocumented immigrants for its work force. Now, this region has become a national focal point in the debate over President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and their role in agriculture

Written by Seth Anderson

March 18th, 2019 at 10:05 am

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with ,

The Loophole That Lets Boeing Get Cozy With Congress

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Boeing - El Segundo

The New York Times reports:

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, its decision was based solely on its evolving understanding of the evidence. But critics have suggested that the delay in joining the international consensus may have been the result, at least in part, of the close relationship that Boeing, a major political force in Washington and a large government contractor, has with American officials.

Boeing receives more federal money than any corporation other than Lockheed Martin, its main competitor in the defense contractor industry. Boeing took in over $23 billion in con tracts from the government in the 2017 fiscal year — near its annual average. (Just this fall, the company won a $9.2 billion contract to make a new generation of jets for the Air Force.)

Senator Elizabeth Warren publicly questioned whether the government had “put lives at risk” to protect Boeing’s bottom line. She and a bipartisan group of her colleagues requested congressional hearings to investigate.

In the Turning of the Twilight

In 1940, Congress passed a law barring individuals and firms from making federal campaign contributions while they negotiate or perform federal contracts. The intent was to prevent companies from trying to bribe politicians for lucrative deals and to prevent lawmakers from extorting money from companies with business before the government.

So how do campaign donations that appear to be connected with Boeing manage to avoid violating this law? The answer is a loophole, cemented in the law in the 1970s, that permits government contractors to set up “separate segregated funds,” or political action committees, to make political contributions using money typically pooled from the contractors’ executives and major shareholders. Such funds are legal even if the parent company pays for their operating and fund-raising costs. This exemption — whose ostensible justification is the free-speech rights of contractors’ employees — is why political action committees like Boeing’s can exist.

“It’s a huge loophole,” said Craig Holden, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen who has helped states write pay-to-play laws more restrictive than the federal-level bans.

There is also, in effect, another even larger loophole for contractors looking to influence national politicians: the inaugural committee for a president-elect. Because inaugural committees are technically not connected to the political campaign, “all bets are off,” as Mr. Fischer put it. Boeing gave a million dollars to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee — a giveaway now under scrutiny as a possible conflict of interest for the president.

Thanks to this maze of loopholes and legal niceties, federal contractors are able to effectively spend or direct the spending of money on political campaigns, despite the original intent of the law against contractor contributions. One clear result of this system is the widespread suspicion, warranted or not, of the government’s initial decision not to ground Boeing’s plane.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | The Loophole That Lets Boeing Get Cozy With Congress – The New York Times.)

Boing and Lockheed Martin and similar companies slurping up tax payer dollars is why Flint still doesn’t have clean water, why college education isn’t basically free, why millions of people don’t have health insurance, and so on. Corporate welfare is like a black hole, distorting our entire economy.

Wintry Moon Rise over Boeing

Written by Seth Anderson

March 15th, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Trump Loses Yet Another Communications Director – Bill Shine

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Newstand on State Street circa 1996

Surprising nobody, today there was yet another departure from the Trump White House of Best People.

Tim O’Brien of Bloomberg reports:

Bill Shine, who helped Roger Ailes shape Fox News into a propaganda machine fueled by hype, cynicism and hogwash before joining a presidential administration fueled by hype, cynicism and hogwash, is leaving his post as the White House’s chief communications adviser less than a year into the job.

That short span in President Donald Trump’s warm embrace isn’t of note, really. The White House is essentially an outsized meat grinder, beset by chaos, backstabbing and incompetence and managed by someone who has little interest, and thus a woeful lack of managerial experience, in building strong teams. The practical implications of this are a dearth of expertise, loyalty, productivity and accomplishments — bad for any organization of any stripe.

For all of that, Shine’s departure isn’t a surprise. What is compelling about the end of his run is that he came from Fox, and packaging and promoting Trump at the expense of truth, justice and the American way was familiar territory for him. Shine and his Fox team pursued this with real gusto. As Jane Mayer pointed out in the New Yorker this week, Shine was responsible for defining Fox’s brand by overseeing its morning and evening talk shows (Fox’s straight-news operation, populated by many talented, fair-minded people, wasn’t part of his purview). And as Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post’s media critic, noted this week as well, Shine’s handiwork — Fox’s talk shows — often are fact-free zones that allow the network to essentially function as “Trump TV.”

(click here to continue reading Trump’s White House Just Out-Foxed Bill Shine – Bloomberg.)

Yeah, maybe the problem with Trump’s negative press coverage is that Trump keeps doing stupid, cynical things? Ya think?

The Pope is Concerned About Putin and Trump

Or as Greg Sargent of the Washington Post puts it:

But the question is, what could get it done? Consider the headlines we’ve seen in recent days. Some of the most unflattering ones are just straight reporting of ways in which Trump has failed by his own metrics. For instance, migrating families arriving at the border just spiked to new highs — meaning Trump’s efforts to deter them from coming through all manner of cruelty have failed. When those numbers were low, he saw that as a sign that he was succeeding. But now they’re spiking. This is just a factual matter that no amount of magical spinning can make disappear.

On North Korea, Trump got slammed with headlines after his efforts at a deal with North Korea abruptly collapsed. But it was Trump himself who inflated expectations by absurdly blustering early on that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” This also led to more bad headlines when administration officials were forced to contradict it.

Then there’s the trade deficit in goods. It has now ballooned to its largest point in U.S. history. This is a fact that Trump’s own Commerce Department announced. It has always been idiotic of Trump to invest this metric with the importance that he has, but he did that, and so he is failing by a metric that he established for himself, out of folly and ignorance. No amount of magical spinning can make that disappear, either.

Also on trade, Trump is getting hammered by headlines reporting that he’s likely to end up making a face-saving deal with China that doesn’t produce the concessions he originally wanted. But it’s Trump who sold himself as the Greatest Dealmaker in History, then launched us into a trade war while absurdly claiming that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” This guaranteed that the headlines showing the damage being done by those trade wars, and the failure to secure the deal he wants, would be all the more brutal. Trump’s total lack of interest in learning the complexities of issues, and his unshakable confidence in his ability to bluster his way through anything, is the problem here.

But it turns out that there’s a whole news media outside that feedback loop that is telling the truth about Trump’s presidency, and the results are unflattering to him. And not even a former Fox News executive was able to do anything about it.

(click here to continue reading Bill Shine quits amid Trump’s anger over bad press. Maybe that’s Trump’s fault? – The Washington Post.)

Trump is mad that nobody is capable of spinning all the shit he spews into golden threads. If he finds such a miracle worker, he better pay better than the going rate…

Written by Seth Anderson

March 8th, 2019 at 3:10 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen

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Perpetual Payment of Perpetual Loans

The New York Times reports:

Of the eight checks now available, seven were for $35,000 and another was for $70,000 to cover two months’ worth of payments. Six were signed by Mr. Trump himself while he was president and the other two were signed by his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

Altogether, Mr. Trump or his trust paid Mr. Cohen $420,000, according to federal prosecutors. Of that, $130,000 was to reimburse payments made shortly before the 2016 election to Ms. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, so she would not tell her story. Another $50,000 was for Mr. Cohen’s effort to manipulate online polls to inflate Mr. Trump’s reputation as a businessman.

That $180,000 was then “grossed up” with another $180,000 to offset taxes that Mr. Cohen would have to pay on the original money since it was being treated as income. Another $60,000 was added as a “bonus,” prosecutors have said.

(click here to continue reading In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen – The New York Times.)

That was a pretty nice deal for Michael Cohen. I’ve never had a client that allowed me to bill them more than double what was contracted for. Is this standard procedure for Trump world?

Contemporaneous Memos

And I’ve also been saying the same thing as “some peope close to Mr. Trump” for a while:

“The $35,000 is an indication of the quality of that evidence, and it both shows the extent of Trump’s leading role and now leaves little doubt that he faces criminal prosecution after he leaves office for the same offenses for which Cohen will serve time,” said Robert F. Bauer, a law professor at New York University and former White House counsel for President Barack Obama.

Indeed, some people close to Mr. Trump have privately predicted that he will ultimately choose to seek a second term in part because of his legal exposure if he is not president. While there is no legal consensus on the matter, Justice Department policy says that a president cannot be indicted while in office.

The Justice Department policy is rather weak sauce, but we’ll see if it stands up to scrutiny once the breadth of Trump’s crimes comes to light.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 6th, 2019 at 4:54 am

Posted in crime,politics

Tagged with ,

Trump Dismisses 81 House Document Requests. Here’s Where They Went

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Sean aka Chawn, Chawn

The New York Times:

Many of the people and entities have already told the Judiciary Committee that they will cooperate, meaning that the panel could soon begin reaping reams of evidence already in the hands of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and federal prosecutors in New York. Others will most likely do so under subpoena in time.

A closer look at Mr. Nadler’s initial 81 targets — a mix of household names and bit players — reveals a web of lines of inquiry and overlapping interests. Here are some of the most noteworthy patterns.

(click here to continue reading Trump Dismisses 81 House Document Requests. Here’s Where They Went. – The New York Times.)

Noted for future reference. Here are the 81 letters. I’m that kind of nerd who will admit publicly that I’ll skim them all.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 5th, 2019 at 9:09 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

A Clinton-era Democrat makes the case for the left

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Barack and Hillary wonder about Swank Franks

Brad DeLong1, an economist at the University of California-Berkeley that I’ve followed since the Golden Age of Blogging, was interviewed by Vox:

“Barack Obama rolls into office with Mitt Romney’s health care policy, with John McCain’s climate policy, with Bill Clinton’s tax policy, and George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy,” DeLong notes. “And did George H.W. Bush, did Mitt Romney, did John McCain say a single good word about anything Barack Obama ever did over the course of eight solid years? No, they fucking did not.”

The result, he argues, is the nature of the Democratic Party needs to shift. Rather than being a center-left coalition dominated by market-friendly ideas designed to attract conservative support, the energy of the coalition should come from the left and its broad, sweeping ideas. Market-friendly neoliberals, rather than pushing their own ideology, should work to improve ideas on the left. This, he believes, is the most effective and sustainable basis for Democratic politics and policy for the foreseeable future.

(click here to continue reading Bernie Sanders news: a Clinton-era Democrat makes the case for the left – Vox.)

Interesting take. As a member of that part of the political spectrum far to the left of Clinton2 I’d like if we finally got a chance to enact some liberal policies. There hasn’t been a left-wing president in my lifetime. Obama – center left; Bill Clinton – center-right; Jimmy Carter – center left; and even Lyndon Johnson was not really a lefty, despite originally being a disciple of FDR. Meanwhile, the GOP keeps creeping right, right, right until they are basically knuckle-draggers like Trump and his crew.

Footnotes:
  1. twitter []
  2. both Hillary and Bill []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 4th, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with

Trump Shutdown Priorities

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Between Thought And Expression

 

As the Trump shutdown lumbers on, The Washington Post reports:

On Friday, the Bureau of Land Management changed its plan to allow for 19 percent of its 9,260-person workforce to continue on the job during the shutdown.

According to BLM officials, employees who are back on the job are working on activities including law enforcement, grazing activities and preparing for March lease sales that will take place in several Western states.

Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for its part, has also brought back employees to avert any delays in its March auction for offshore oil and gas drilling.

(click here to continue reading State Dept. employees ordered back to work as Trump nixes Pelosi trip and Davos delegation, citing shutdown – The Washington Post.)

Priorities. The most important thing to accomplish for the GOP is selling off the public’s land and drill, baby, drill. Jerks.

But some Democrats and environmental groups attacked the decision as political and dangerous.

On Wednesday, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) led a group of House Democrats in calling the assistance to the oil and gas industry “an outrageous step,” with a “farcical” justification in a letter to acting Interior secretary David Bernhardt.

“One of the most striking features” of the shutdown, the lawmakers wrote, “is the way the administration has bent over backwards to ensure that the pain of the shutdown falls only on ordinary Americans and the environment, and not on the oil and gas industry.”

Written by Seth Anderson

January 18th, 2019 at 10:33 am

Paul Vallas Lost My Vote was uploaded to Flickr

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In honesty, I don’t know much about Paul Vallas’ campaign for Mayor, but any idiot who spam texts me at 12:33 AM should not be allowed near public office. There is now zero chance I will vote for this jerk.

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2dCipCd

I took Paul Vallas Lost My Vote on December 20, 2018 at 11:50PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 21, 2018 at 07:56AM

update: IFTTT posted this image 5 times, so far. Sigh.

Written by eggplant

December 21st, 2018 at 9:34 am

Trump forced to sell portraits of himself at a loss of over $40,000

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Dump Googly Eyes Trump

This made me giggle.

Oliver Willis reports:

 

The agreement with the attorney general’s office says that Trump must sell two large portraits of himself that he spent $30,000 of foundation money on. The paintings are now valued at thousands of dollars less than what he paid for them.

One painting was a six-foot-tall portrait of Trump, a “speed painting” by artist Michael Israel painted in under six minutes during an event at Mar-a-Lago. The other painting is a four-foot-tall portrait of Trump’s face that the Washington Post described as a “a younger-looking, mid-’90s Trump, painted in acrylic on top of an old architectural drawing.”

Trump also spent $12,000 of money ostensibly donated for charity on a Denver Broncos helmet signed by former quarterback Tim Tebow.

Take together, all three items have been valued at $975 on a recent IRS filing, a drop in value of $41,025.

Trump is being forced to shut down the Trump Foundation, which New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood described as being part of “a shocking pattern of illegality.” Underwood said Trump and his foundation engaged in “unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”

The foundation, she said, was “little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”

(click here to continue reading Trump forced to sell portraits of himself at a loss of over $40,000.)

Continuing on yesterday’s theme1 Trump is also horrible at collecting art…Footnotes:

  1. and to be honest, the theme of the last three or four years []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 19th, 2018 at 10:14 am

Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment

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Romney Ryan Rolls Royce Hood

From the Department of Headlines I Agree With

Vox:

Paul Ryan’s long con. He betrayed his promises and left a legacy of debt and disappointment.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legacy can be summed up in just one number: $343 billion.

That’s the increase between the deficit for fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018 — that is, the difference between the fiscal year before Ryan became speaker of the House and the fiscal year in which he retired.

If the economy had fallen into recession between 2015 and 2018, Ryan’s record would be understandable. But it didn’t. In fact, growth quickened and the labor market tightened — which means deficits should’ve fallen. Indeed, that’s exactly what happened in each of the five years preceding Ryan’s speakership; from 2011 to 2015, annual deficits fell each year.

As he prepares to leave office, Ryan says that debt reduction is one of those things “I wish we could have gotten done.” Ryan, the man with the single most power over the federal budget in recent years, sounds like a bystander, as if he watched laws happen rather than made them happen.

(click here to continue reading Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment – Vox.)

Bedtime Story - drawing by Barry Blitt

Ryan was always a fake wonk, and a full-on Koch Brother acolyte. For some reason, many in political media gave Ryan a pass, even when his economic policies never, ever had the outcome of stabilizing the government’s finances, and always always increased income inequality.

History will not be kind to Paul Ryan’s legacy, but that is of little comfort right now.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 10th, 2018 at 10:47 am

Posted in politics

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