B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘trump’ tag

Judge Denies Trump’s Request to Dismiss Emoluments Lawsuit

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Emolument Man 

The New York Times:

Congressional Democrats cleared a key hurdle on Friday in their effort to sue President Trump over whether he is illegally profiting from business dealings with foreign governments, in a case that could give the lawmakers access to the Trump Organization’s finances.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court in Washington ruled that the lawmakers have standing to sue Mr. Trump for accepting payments and other benefits from foreign governments without obtaining permission from Congress, which would violate the Constitution’s clause that bars federal officials from accepting gifts, or emoluments, from foreign powers without congressional approval.

Judge Sullivan dismissed the Justice Department’s claim that the legislators did not have standing to sue and denied its request to dismiss the lawsuit.

“The court finds that the plaintiffs have standing to sue the president for allegedly violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause,” Judge Sullivan wrote in his opinion. Mr. Trump “has neither asked for their consent nor provided them with any information about the prohibited foreign emoluments he has already allegedly accepted.”

(click here to continue reading Judge Denies Trump’s Request to Dismiss Emoluments Lawsuit – The New York Times.)

Well, a glimmer of hope is better than utter despair.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 29th, 2018 at 4:44 pm

Posted in politics

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Bob Woodward book: Trump confused about federal debt, printing money

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An Investment In Knowledge Always Pays the Best Interest - Ben Franklin

INSIDER:

Bob Woodward book: Gary Cohn was ‘astounded at Trump’s lack of basic understanding’ about the federal debt

During the meeting at Trump Tower in November 2016, Cohn touched on a series of economic issues, including the Federal Reserve. Cohn told Trump that the Fed would most likely increase interest rates during his term. Trump then offered an idea of how to deal with the rising rates.

“We should just go borrow a lot of money, hold it, and then sell it to make money,” Trump said, according to the book.

But according to Woodward, Cohn’s message did not seem to connect.

“It was clear that Trump did not understand the way the US government debt cycle balance sheet worked,” Woodward wrote.

(click here to continue reading Bob Woodward book: Trump confused about federal debt, printing money – INSIDER.)

At this point, can anyone seriously be astounded at Trump’s lack of knowledge about any subject? 

Written by Seth Anderson

September 10th, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Posted in politics

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Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos To Unknown Buyers

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Protestors Headed Towards Trump International Tower
Protestors Headed Towards Trump International Tower

Buzzfeed:

More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s US condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.

Records show that more than 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and that the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders.

Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016. Treasury’s financial-crimes unit has, in recent years, launched investigations around the country into all-cash shell-company real-estate purchases amid concerns that some such sales may involve money laundering. The agency is considering requiring real-estate professionals to adopt anti-money-laundering programs.

(click here to continue reading Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos To Unknown Buyers.)

That’s a lot of Kompramat for Putin’s gang to have over the Resident in the White House, don’t you think?

Trump condo sales that match Treasury’s characteristics of possible money laundering totaled $1.5 billion, BuzzFeed News calculated. They accounted for 21% of the 6,400 Trump condos sold in the US. Those figures include condos that Trump developed as well as condos that others developed in his name under licensing deals that pay Trump a fee or a percentage of sales.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 9th, 2018 at 11:43 am

Posted in crime,politics

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The Corrupt Bargain of the Adults in the Room

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Te Jay s Adult Books
Te’ Jay’s Adult Books

And speaking of the Grand Bargain between the Trumpkins and the enabling GOP:

Michelle Goldberg opines:

What we have here, in miniature, is the corrupt bargain Washington Republicans have made with a president many of them privately despise. They know Trump is unfit, but he gives them tax cuts and right-wing judges. Those tax cuts and right-wing judges, in turn, strengthen the president’s hand, buying him gratitude from rich donors and potential legal cover. Republicans who participate in this cycle seem convinced that the situation is, and will remain, under their control.

This is the quintessence of the Trump-enabling Republican. He or she purports to be standing between us and the calamities that our ignorant and unstable president could unleash, while complaining, in the very same op-ed, that the media doesn’t give the White House enough credit. This person wants the administration to thrive because it has advanced Republican policy objectives, even as he or she argues that the administration is so dangerous that it must be contained by unprecedented internal sabotage.

Since this dystopian regime began, I’ve wondered how Republicans who collaborate with Trump despite knowing he’s a disaster live with themselves. Why hasn’t a group of White House staffers quit in protest and then held a press conference? Why haven’t Senators Bob Corker and Ben Sasse, both of whom have said that the anonymous op-ed matches their own understanding of Trump, done more to stand up to him? Why aren’t former officials like Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster telling us publicly what they saw on the inside? How is it that none of these people have managed to behave as honorably as Omarosa Manigault Newman, who at least put her name to her words, and brought us evidence of what she witnessed?

One answer is that they care about the norms of American democracy — at least some of them — but not quite as much as they care about the agenda of the Republican Party.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | The Corrupt Bargain of the Adults in the Room – The New York Times.)

Slice of Life Ignored
Slice of Life Ignored

The America of the 21st Century is a lot of things, but a functional democracy it is not. One party (the Democrats) is too timid to stand up for liberal ideas with vehemence, though that could change in 2019, maybe; the other party (the GOP) hates the country and everything it stands for, and simply wants to plunder it, feeding the gaping maw of racism and conspiracy theories (climate change, deep state, etc.) in order to maintain power while only representing the interests of a tiny minority of the citizenship. 

If Democrats were smarter, they would ignore reaching out to the Trump cult members, and instead work at getting the vast majority of country to the voting booth. Somewhere around 50 percent of the electorate doesn’t bother to vote, despite, in general, supporting purported liberal ideas like having a livable minimum wage, health care, schools, repairing water mains and bridges and so on, ad infinitum. 

Yet too often, the Democrats battle on the margins, on a Republican set agenda.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 7th, 2018 at 8:46 am

Posted in politics

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Trump and the Koch Brothers Are Working in Concert

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All Tangled Up In Dreams And Aspirations
All Tangled Up In Dreams And Aspirations

The New York Times reports:

President Trump and the Koch brothers have made it clear that they don’t like each other. Politically speaking, they are in fundamental disagreement over trade, tariffs and immigration.

Nonetheless, there is a functional Trump-Koch alliance, and the Republican Party has capitalized handsomely on it. Trump’s racially freighted, anti-immigrant rhetoric has been essential to persuading white voters to agree to Republicans’ long-sought tax and regulatory policies. These policies are inimical or irrelevant to the interests of low- and moderate-income Americans. They have been promulgated by the Trump administration, but many of them have been meticulously prepared and packaged by the Kochs’ massive political network.

The Kochs’ policy objectives that have been realized since Trump took office are legion: enactment of the $1.5 trillion tax cut; the opening of public lands to mining; the appointment of men and women with industry ties to key regulatory posts; weakened enforcement of worker safety rules; the proposed elimination or rollback of numerous environmental regulations; the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, along with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, and the appointment of judges favored by the Kochs to all levels of the federal bench.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Trump and the Koch Brothers Are Working in Concert – The New York Times.)

Peas in a pod – oligarchs who despise American Constitutional Democracy, and the will of the people. I guess to be more accurate, Trump is a wanna-be oligarch, but he’s well on his way.

The Koch-Trump-GOP alliance is why Trump is still Resident, and why the Congress lickspittles like Rep. Devin Nunes and Paul Ryan are so dedicated to protecting Trump from consequences of his Crazy Town actions.

The Kochs know it too:

Koch also told donors, “We’ve made more progress in the past five years than I’ve made in the previous 50.”

Trump and the Kochs are not just complementary; they are symbiotic. Trump is essential to marketing the Kochs’ vision. Without him, the Koch agenda would fail.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 7th, 2018 at 8:32 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Enough, already, with anything Steve Bannon has to say. We got it the first time.

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The Washington Post reports:

No one wants a festival of ideas to turn into a cozy chat among like-minded friends. That’s pointless.

But also utterly pointless is the notion that Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, might have something new or valuable to offer.

That’s why it was a thoroughly lousy idea for the New Yorker magazine to offer a high-profile perch — an onstage interview by top editor David Remnick — at next month’s annual festival to the deposed Svengali.

There is nothing more to learn from Bannon about his particular brand of populism, with its blatant overlay of white supremacy.

While we’re at it, there is also nothing more to learn from the die-hard Trump voters in what I’ve called the Endless Diner Series — the media’s recidivistic journeys to the supposed heartland to hear what we’ve heard a thousand times before about blind loyalty in the face of all reason.

There is also nothing more to learn from proven dissemblers, like Kellyanne Conway, who keep being invited onto the top news shows to shamelessly spout whatever falsehood serves the Trumpian moment.

Yes, it’s time, well past time, to stop lending the media’s biggest and most prestigious platforms to this crowd of racists and liars.

Shut them down — not because of ideology or politics, but because there is no news value there.

(click here to continue reading Enough, already, with anything Steve Bannon has to say. We got it the first time. – The Washington Post.)

Indeed.

Ms. Sullivan has more in this vein, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read, which is kinda weird thing to admit, but  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Written by Seth Anderson

September 4th, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Posted in politics

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‘Sniveling coward’ Trump to campaign for ‘Lyin’ Ted’ Cruz in Texas

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Ted Cruz Father Linked To JFK Assassination

Chicago Tribune reports:

‘Sniveling coward’ Trump to campaign for ‘Lyin’ Ted’ Cruz in Texas

President Donald Trump says he’ll ride to the rescue of one-time bitter rival Sen. Ted Cruz this fall, the strongest indication yet that the Texas conservative firebrand is getting nervous about his challenger, a liberal darling with a growing national profile.

“Either Ted Cruz is in trouble or it’s a remarkable waste of the president’s resources,” said Republican strategist Rick Tyler, who worked for Cruz’s presidential campaign.

The Texas Senate seat, Tyler noted, was supposed to be the GOP ‘s “safest seat this cycle.”

They later clashed bitterly as Cruz finished second for the GOP nomination, with Trump making fun of Cruz’s wife’s appearance and suggesting that his Cuban-born father had a hand in John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Trump also savaged Cruz on Twitter: “Why would the people of Texas support Ted Cruz when he has accomplished absolutely nothing for them?”

Cruz responded by calling Trump “a sniveling coward,” ”a pathological liar,” “utterly amoral” and “a serial philanderer.” He refused to endorse him during the 2016 Republican National Convention

(click here to continue reading ‘Sniveling coward’ Trump to campaign for ‘Lyin’ Ted’ Cruz in Texas – Chicago Tribune.)

Go Beto!

Written by Seth Anderson

September 1st, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Posted in politics

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Trump says Canada not needed in NAFTA deal, warns Congress not to interfere

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The Road to Socialism In Canada

Reuters reports:

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday there was no need to keep Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement and warned Congress not to meddle with the trade negotiations or he would terminate the trilateral trade pact altogether.

Lawmakers on Friday warned that a deal with Mexico could struggle to win approval from Congress unless Canada was also included. Support from Democrats would be needed to pass a purely bilateral deal, they said.

(click here to continue reading Trump says Canada not needed in NAFTA deal, warns Congress not to interfere | Reuters.)

I realize it is a fool’s errand to attempt to decipher the Orange Dotard’s reasoning about any particular topic, but I don’t understand why he’s so antagonistic towards Canada. Is it that Canada is too multi-cultural for Stephen Wormtongue Miller’s taste? Or was Trudeau too nice to Trump in person, so Trump thinks Trudeau, and Canada by extension, is a little sweet?1

Perhaps the only answer is to ask what is Putin’s motive for destroying cordial relations between Canada and the US.

The AP reports:

 

A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.

 

The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said.

 

The previously unreported details of the July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele, which Ohr described to lawmakers this week in a private interview, reveal an exchange of potentially explosive information about Trump between two men the president has relentlessly sought to discredit.

 

They add to the public understanding of those pivotal summer months as the FBI and intelligence community scrambled to untangle possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. And they reflect the concern of Steele, a longtime FBI informant whose Democratic-funded research into Trump ties to Russia was compiled into a dossier, that the Republican presidential candidate was possibly compromised and his urgent efforts to convey that anxiety to contacts at the FBI and Justice Department.

Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had communicated that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting.

 

 

(click here to continue reading AP sources: Lawyer was told Russia had ‘Trump over a barrel’.)

Headed To Ward's Island

There was also this bit of news about the negotiation from The Toronto Star:

 High-stakes trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. were dramatically upended on Friday morning after inflammatory secret remarks by President Donald Trump were obtained by the Toronto Star.

 Trump’s comments were viewed by Canadian negotiators as evidence for their suspicions that the U.S. was not making a legitimate effort to compromise. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s officials confronted the president’s officials with the leaked quotes at a high-level meeting on Friday morning.

Trump made his controversial statements in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. He said, “off the record,” that he is not making any compromises at all with Canada — and that he could not say this publicly because “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”

“Here’s the problem. If I say no — the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal … I can’t kill these people,” Trump said of the Canadian government.

In another remark he did not want published, Trump said that any deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” He suggested he was scaring the Canadians into submission by repeatedly threatening to impose tariffs on imports of Canadian-made cars.

“Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” Trump said. The Impala is produced at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont.

Bloomberg agreed to Trump’s request to keep the comments off the record. But the Star, which obtained the quotes from a source, is not bound by any promises Bloomberg made to the president, and it published the quotes after they became part of the critical negotiations.

Trump, of course, is known for both dishonesty and for bragging about his own greatness, and he regularly utters dubious boasts about how he is supposedly dominating the feeble people on the other side of the bargaining table. When he claimed to have made no compromises, it is possible he was making a false claim to impress the Bloomberg journalists.

There was no apparent evidence on Friday for his claim that he has wielded a photo of an Impala as a negotiating tactic.

(click here to continue reading Donald Trump confirms Star story on his secret bombshell remarks about Canada | The Star.)

Footnotes:
  1. Manigault Newman suggests that the president’s views of his own staff are often less than flattering. When Ivanka Trump first started dating Jared Kushner, she asked her father what he thought of Kushner. She writes: “’He seems a little sweet to me,’ he said, using his phrasing for ‘gay.’” []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 1st, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with , ,

Could Trump’s Missing Signature Force Him to Testify?

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My Heart's In the Basement

The New York Times reports:

In the history of presidential scandals, it is often the hidden things that end up proving decisive. Think, for example, of Monica Lewinsky’s stained blue dress or of Richard M. Nixon’s secret Oval Office tapes.

But in President Trump’s recent scandal involving Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels, something that was never there to begin with could play an unexpected role.

The missing item is the signature that Mr. Trump failed to place on Ms. Clifford’s non-disclosure deal two years ago. And if her lawyer has his way, there is a chance that the inch-long blank space could force Mr. Trump to testify about what he knew of the arrangement.

Peggy Peterson vs David Dennison

Peggy Peterson vs David Dennison

 

Earlier this year, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, filed a civil lawsuit against Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, claiming that the non-disclosure contract was “null and void” because Mr. Trump left empty the line where he was meant to write his name.

(click here to continue reading Could Trump’s Missing Signature Force Him to Testify? – The New York Times.)

This would be amusing, if it actually happens. Since Trump cannot even remember what he did 2 hours ago, I’d be surprised if he was a credible witness, or if he is allowed to testify in this matter. 

The easier solution would be just to declare the NDA null and void, and be done with the matter. Not sure if Trump’s pride will allow this, yet, though I’m certain some White House staff and Trump’s outside council of mal-advice has suggested it.

No Turn On Red

Written by Seth Anderson

August 28th, 2018 at 9:09 am

Posted in crime,politics

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Paul Manafort will likely go to jail if Trump pardons him thanks to a lone holdout juror

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 Cook County Circuit Court

Slate reports:

Manafort was also tried on bank fraud relating to New York and California banks. Both states have double jeopardy statutes that seem to create a potential pardon protection. But there was a hung jury on the conspiracy bank fraud charge for the California bank. California’s double jeopardy law states, “No person can be subjected to a second prosecution for a public offense for which he has once been prosecuted and convicted or acquitted.” That obviously excludes mistrials. So California could prosecute the separate act of conspiracy bank fraud because Manafort has never been prosecuted and convicted or acquitted of that charge.

There was also a hung jury on the four bank fraud charges for his dealings with the Federal Savings Bank in Illinois. The state’s double jeopardy law also allows a second state prosecution after a mistrial. It is ironic that the one holdout juror who caused a mistrial on some charges opened up Manafort to state retrials.

If Trump pardons Manafort on the charges from this month’s federal case alone, then he would still face prosecution in three very blue states (New York, Illinois, and California) and one increasingly blue-ish state (Virginia). Those are four jury pools that would potentially be altogether worse for Manafort. If, in this month’s trial, Manafort could only persuade one juror out of 12 on about half of these charges, his chances would seem pretty low at running the table in four more trials in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Chicago, and northern Virginia. And we haven’t even discussed the charges in the second federal trial next month and whatever additional state criminal liability Manafort might face that has not been charged at the federal level. And Mueller still might be strategically holding off on other charges.

(click here to continue reading Paul Manafort will likely go to jail if Trump pardons him thanks to a lone holdout juror..)

Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank

Entrance to the Federal Savings Bank, West Loop.

If I wasn’t lazy, I’d embed an animated gif of Nelson Muntz here…

The Federal Savings Bank
The Federal Savings Bank

Written by Seth Anderson

August 25th, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Posted in politics

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The Slippery Slope of Complicity

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PMURT KCUF
!!!PMURT KCUF

Paul Krugman writes, in part:

The real news of the past few weeks isn’t that Trump is a wannabe Mussolini who can’t even make the trains run on time. It’s the absence of any meaningful pushback from Congressional Republicans. Indeed, not only are they acquiescing in Trump’s corruption, his incitements to violence, and his abuse of power, up to and including using the power of office to punish critics, they’re increasingly vocal in cheering him on.

Make no mistake: if Republicans hold both houses of Congress this November, Trump will go full authoritarian, abusing institutions like the I.R.S., trying to jail opponents and journalists on, er, trumped-up charges, and more — and he’ll do it with full support from his party.

But why? Is Trumpocracy what Republicans always wanted?

Well, it’s probably what some of them always wanted.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | The Slippery Slope of Complicity – The New York Times.)

Very true. Trump is not some aberrant Republican, he is the GOP’s standard bearer, speaking out loud what most say in private. 

Krugman again:

But there are some special aspects of the modern GOP that make it especially vulnerable to this kind of slide into leader-worship. The party has long been in the habit of rejecting awkward facts and attributing them to conspiracies: it’s not a big jump from claiming that climate change is a giant hoax perpetrated by the entire scientific community to asserting that Trump is the blameless target of a vast deep state conspiracy.

And modern Republican politicians are, with few exceptions, apparatchiks: they are creatures of a monolithic movement that doesn’t allow dissent but protects the loyal from risk. Even if they should happen to lose a race in their gerrymandered districts, as long as they toed the line they can count on “wing nut welfare” — commentator slots on Fox News, appointments at think tanks, and so on.

Written by Seth Anderson

August 21st, 2018 at 8:46 am

Posted in politics

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Trump Keeps Trying to Kill the Agency That Investigates Chemical Plant Disasters

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Crippled WIth Self Confidence
Crippled WIth Self Confidence

Mother Jones reports:

Earlier this month, after a three-month probe, the investigators from the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board concluded that a faulty valve at the plant caused the explosion. The board plans to issue recommendations that aim to prevent such an accident from happening again at a refinery.

But despite the warm welcome in Superior—and wide recognition of its expertise in chemical plant disasters—this small, independent federal agency is teetering on the brink of elimination.

The Trump administration has twice in its budgets attempted to shut down the Chemical Safety Board; so far, Congress has rejected the attempts. For the 2019 fiscal year, both the House and Senate have proposed restoring full funding.

But the assaults appear to be taking a toll. Hostility from the Trump administration and disarray from its efforts to eliminate the agency follow years of leadership turmoil and high turnover that started during the Obama administration. In 2015, its chairman, who was embroiled in a congressional investigation into poor management, resigned under pressure—yet leadership problems remain.

Combined, these problems threaten to cripple the agency’s investigations of chemical plant disasters

(click here to continue reading Trump Keeps Trying to Kill the Agency That Investigates Chemical Plant Disasters – Mother Jones.)

yayyy, Hillary’s emails!

Written by Seth Anderson

August 20th, 2018 at 10:33 am

Russia Hawk Axed From National Security Council Right Before Trump-Putin Summit

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Everything Must Be Done Occasionally
Everything Must Be Done Occasionally

Kate Brannen & Spencer Ackerman report:

Russia Hawk Axed From National Security Council Right Before Trump-Putin Summit

Retired Col. Richard Hooker is pro-NATO, skeptical of Russia, and out at the White House.

 Shortly before Donald Trump detonated a NATO summit, shanked the beleaguered British prime minister and prepped for a face-to-face love session with Vladimir Putin, his White House quietly divested itself of a senior official hawkish on Russia and bullish on the transatlantic military alliance.

The circumstances of retired Army Colonel Richard Hooker’s departure from the National Security Council on June 29 are in dispute. It’s not clear whether Hooker was forced out or if his detail on the NSC came to its natural end. But what’s not in doubt is that for the past 15 months, Hooker was senior director for Russia, Europe and NATO.

And just as his new boss, National Security Adviser John Bolton, was preparing to travel to Moscow to meet with Putin on June 27 to lay the groundwork for Trump’s visit, Hooker was packing up his desk. Now, he’s headed back to the National Defense University, the crown jewel of the Pentagon’s cross-service military-education system, which had loaned him to the NSC. Hooker is the latest NSC staffer to leave as Bolton reconfigures the influential policymaking body in his image. Like Hooker, Bolton has long viewed Russia a strategic threat to the United States, and accused Putin of lying to Trump about interfering in the 2016 election.

Hooker, who is highly respected in military circles, would not comment for this story, and an NSC spokesperson declined to comment on the record as well. But many sources familiar with him portrayed him as the sort of consensus defense official common in both Republican and Democratic administrations in the pre-Trump era.

(click here to continue reading Russia Hawk Axed From National Security Council Right Before Trump-Putin Summit.)

If this was just one incident, nobody would blink an eye. But instead, this is another incident where Trump’s sycophancy to Putin is policy. Or what passes for Trumpianism policy. 

You’d think Putin is Trump’s boss or something…

Written by Seth Anderson

July 15th, 2018 at 7:45 pm

Posted in politics

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Trump’s trade war is hurting the dairy industry

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CE Zuercher  Co Wholesale Cheese
CE Zuercher & Co Wholesale Cheese

As part of our continuing mocking of Trump-voting industries being screwed by Trump, Slate reports:

As the Wall Street Journal reports Thursday, Mexico and China have decided to target up to $986 million worth of American dairy exports with tariffs as retaliation for the Trump administration’s protectionist moves. Mexico is increasing its duty on cheese, while China is hitting cheese and whey. With their growing middle-class populations, both countries have become important markets in recent years for the U.S. dairy industry, which has found itself struggling with overproduction in the face of declining domestic milk consumption. Milk futures for July are down since Mexico announced its tariffs earlier this year—the last time the country imposed similar tariffs on U.S. cheese, shipments fell by 26 percent—and companies are already fretting. The president of Wisconsin’s BelGioioso Cheese called the situation “a nightmare.”

This is part of a larger pattern for the Trump administration, which the New York Times documents at length. So far, the administration’s efforts on trade and regulation have ended up hurting the very industries they claim to be helping. The 10 percent tariff Trump placed on aluminum, for instance, has made raw materials more expensive for most of the companies that actually produce aluminum products in the U.S., since they’re generally in the business of importing those raw materials and shaping them into more valuable upstream products. Steel tariffs have made pumping crude more expensive for oil companies by adding to the cost of building rigs and buying equipment. Soybean prices are crashing in response to Chinese tariff threats. Detroit’s car-makers are worried about potential tariffs on foreign autos, with executives warning about possible retaliation. The law of unintended consequences is playing out, or about to play out, in sector after sector of the economy.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s trade war is hurting the dairy industry..)

I would guess many dairy company owners and employees in Wisconsin are starting to regret voting for the Trump trauma train… 

Global Cheese
Global Cheese, Kensington Market, Toronto

WSJ:

 Cheese makers that rely on foreign sales are suffering as China and Mexico raise tariffs on U.S. mozzarella and provolone.

 BelGioioso Cheese Inc., a second-generation family company in Wisconsin, has seen sales to Mexico drop since officials there implemented tariffs of up to 15% in early June on most U.S. cheese. The levies were a response to tariffs the U.S. placed on Mexican steel and aluminum.

 On Thursday, Mexico was slated to raise its levy on most U.S. cheese to as much as 25%, while China on Friday is implementing tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. goods, including cheese and whey, a dairy byproduct often fed to livestock.

 “It’s a nightmare,” said BelGioioso President Errico Auricchio.

The Trump administration’s trade agenda is threatening that growth, dairies say. The Mexican tariffs affect as much as $578 million in U.S. dairy goods, while China’s duties could hit $408 million of cheese, whey and other products, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce data.

July milk futures have dropped 12% since Mexico announced May 31 that it would strike back with tariffs. The price for a barrel, or 500 pounds, of white cheddar last week hit its lowest level since 2009. More cheese is in cold storage in the U.S. than any time since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping track in 1917.

U.S. dairy exports last year totaled $5.5 billion, including $1.3 billion to Mexico, the top market, according to the Export Council. China, meanwhile, bought more than $577 million in U.S. dairy products last year, nearly half of it whey. (The recent tariffs don’t affect all dairy exports to Mexico and China.) Almost half of U.S. whey sales went to China last year, the Export Council said. The threat of the Chinese tariffs that take effect Friday has already hurt those sales. 

 

(click here to continue reading Take Our Cheese, Please: American Cheese Makers Suffer Under New Tariffs – WSJ.)

Written by Seth Anderson

July 5th, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with , ,

How Trump’s Policy Decisions Undermine the Industries He Pledged to Help

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Trump As Joker
Trump As Joker (source unknown)

As part of a continuing series about Trump supporters who have gotten screwed by Trump’s erratic trade policy pronouncements, the NYT reports:

In late March, the Trump administration began imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum from countries including Russia, China, Turkey and Brazil. On June 1, it expanded the levies to include Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

While the steel industry supports the tariffs, the aluminum industry is mostly opposed. The tariffs raise prices for aluminum, which helps smelters, the companies that make raw aluminum here. However, only a handful of smelters still operate in the United States.

The Aluminum Association, which represents the bulk of the American industry, says that 97 percent of American jobs in aluminum are at what are called “downstream” businesses that shape the metal into things like auto parts or other goods. Those companies are hurt by Mr. Trump’s tariffs, because they must now pay higher prices for their raw materials.

(click here to continue reading How Trump’s Policy Decisions Undermine the Industries He Pledged to Help – The New York Times.)

It turns out electing a president who gets all his policy ideas from Fox News maybe isn’t such a good thing for the nation. Who woulda guessed?

Storing Wheat  Agfa Scala 200
Storing Wheat / Soy – Agfa Scala 200

And yet, despite all the evidence of Trump’s incompetence, and indifference, some Trumpsters remain on the Trump train:

“I would like to tell the president, ‘Man, you are messing up our market,’” said Kevin Scott, a soybean farmer in South Dakota and the secretary of the American Soybean Association. The idea of changing Nafta, he said, “gives us a lot of heartburn in farm country.”

 At the same time, Mr. Scott said, China’s threat to impose tariffs this weekon United States soybeans — in direct response to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on other Chinese-made products — is already having a negative effect on the prices farmers see. In recent days, Canada imposed its own retaliatory tariffs against the United States. And on Friday, General Motors warned that Mr. Trump’s threat of tariffs on imported cars could backfire, killing American jobs and leading to “a smaller G.M.”

Mr. Scott voted for Mr. Trump, and he approves of administration efforts to roll back environmental regulations, “But if we lose those Chinese and Mexican markets, it will be hard to get them back,” he said. China and Mexico are the two biggest markets for American soybean exports.

Richard Newell, president of Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, described the administration’s overall approach as “whac-a-mole policy” that suggests a lack of appreciation of the complexity of global commerce. “The law of unintended consequences abounds,” Mr. Newell added.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 5th, 2018 at 6:58 am

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with ,