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New Deal Democrat

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Gender: Male
Hometown: West Virginia
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed May 14, 2014, 10:30 AM
Number of posts: 10,187

Journal Archives

Bluff, bombast and blame is all that Donald Trump can offer in this crisis

The one welcome casualty of the coronavirus pandemic ought to be the culture wars. If it achieves nothing else, the health crisis has revealed the emptiness of leaders who manufacture nationalist fears to maintain their power. Boris Johnson now looks as out of place as a clown in a morgue. Donald Trump looks as out of luck as a cornered conman.

Nothing is inevitable, however. To see how a pandemic can be used to ensure that supplies of politically useful rage keep flowing, look at how US Republicans are constructing a cover story. They have plenty to cover up. The gaps in safety nets that the virus is revealing everywhere gape in the United States. That the world’s richest country somehow never got round to providing universal healthcare is bad enough, but the incompetence of Trump’s White House and the wider US right has been close to criminal.

“We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine,” Trump bragged on 22 January. He has never managed to rise from that low point. All Americans have had is bluff and bombast intended to make the virus seem a minor nuisance, and then, as reality dawned on the president’s narrow mind, to ensure blame went to anyone but himself. He was not alone. Fox News, which acts as a front for his administration and as the respectable face of crackpot politics, has been engaged in an equally clanking gearshift. At the beginning of March, liberal criticisms of Trump’s inability to see a national emergency when it was staring him in the face were “just another attempt to impeach the president”, according to one presenter. At worst, the virus “could be the flu”, added a second. Not even so bad a flu, opined a third. The U-turn in mid-March was so fast you could smell the burning rubber on the road. Overnight, coronavirus became a “health crisis” and an “incredibly dangerous and contagious virus”.

How do you recover from an error of such magnitude? The honourable course, of admitting a mistake and expressing a determination to do better in future, was unavailable – and not only because fighting in a culture war means never having to say you’re sorry. Honesty might be fatal to Trump’s hopes of re-election.

Instead, an escape attempt began with the right-wing deploying the language policing it so often deplores on the politically correct left. Trump is now insisting that coronavirus should not be called coronavirus but “Chinese virus”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/21/bluff-bombast-blame-all-trump-can-offer-coronavirus-crisis
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Sat Mar 21, 2020, 10:13 PM (15 replies)

US intelligence warned Trump in January and February as he dismissed coronavirus threat

President Donald Trump ignored reports from US intelligence agencies starting in January that warned of the scale and intensity of the coronavirus outbreak in China, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Citing US officials familiar with the agencies' reports and warnings, the Post reported that intelligence agencies depicted the nature and global spread of the virus and China's apparent downplaying of its severity, as well as the potential need for government measures to contain it - while Trump opted to dismiss or simply not address their seriousness.

"Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were -- they just couldn't get him to do anything about it," the official noted to the Post. "The system was blinking red."

(snip)

Even when cases reached the US, Trump opposed characterizing the virus as a serious threat, the paper reported. Two senior administration officials told the paper that while returning from India, Trump complained that senior Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official Nancy Messonnier was frightening investors with her assessment in late February that changes to normal life could be "severe" in light of serious spread.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/politics/us-intelligence-reports-trump-coronavirus/index.html
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Sat Mar 21, 2020, 12:29 PM (48 replies)

Fact check: Trump's wild letter to Pelosi is filled with false and misleading claims

Washington (CNN)It was on White House letterhead. It read like a string of President Donald Trump's tweets.

And it was just as dishonest.

On Tuesday afternoon, Trump released a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which -- employing his distinctive vocabulary and punctuation -- he blasted Democrats' push to impeach him, defended his dealings with Ukraine and touted his accomplishments in office.

Like much of his previous rhetoric about Ukraine and impeachment, much of the letter was false or misleading.
Trump repeated multiple false claims that have been debunked on numerous occasions. He also delivered some new claims that were false, misleading or lacking in context.

We're not finished going through all of Trump's claims in his letter, but here are some early fact checks.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/17/politics/fact-check-trump-impeachment-letter-to-pelosi/index.html

Hit the link for more. And while I'm at it, here's an analysis by PolitiFact:

Trump repeats many falsehoods in letter to Pelosi about impeachment
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Wed Dec 18, 2019, 01:34 AM (24 replies)

Robert Reich: Under Real Capitalism, Billionaires Shouldn't Exist

Billionaires are wailing that Elizabeth Warren's and Bernie Sanders's wealth tax proposals are attacks on free market capitalism.

Warren "vilifies successful people," says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Rubbish. There are basically only five ways to accumulate a billion dollars, and none of them has to do with being successful in free market capitalism.

Jamie Dimon is worth $1.6 billion. That's not because he succeeded in the free market. In 2008 the government bailed out JPMorgan and other giant Wall Street banks because it considered them "too big to fail."

That bailout is a hidden insurance policy, still in effect, with an estimated value to the big banks of $83 billion a year. If JPMorgan weren't so big and was therefore allowed to fail, Dimon would be worth far less than $1.6 billion.

https://www.newsweek.com/capitalism-billionaires-shouldnt-exist-robert-reich-1471002

Sorry I can't share more, on account of the DI copyright rule.
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Tue Nov 12, 2019, 06:29 PM (35 replies)

Trump's lies on Syria were jaw-dropping

President Donald Trump stood in front of the microphone in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room and strafed the world with a barrage of lies and nonsensical, self-serving claims. We've seen it before, but the spectacle Trump served on Wednesday when he bragged and boasted about his great achievement in Syria was even more grotesque than usual, because he sought to paint what has been a calamity for America's Kurdish friends - and for US standing in the world - as a great personal triumph.

The "Alice in Wonderland" factor may have been lost on Trump's most devout followers, probably the intended audience for this spectacle of deceit, but the fact is that much of what Trump said wasn't just incorrect, it was the exact opposite of the truth - contradicted even by the administration's own experts in remarks made recently and months earlier.

In announcing that Turkey has agreed to a "permanent" ceasefire and taking credit for the possible end to the carnage he helped spark, Trump claimed, "We have done (Turkey and the Kurds) a great service," by removing US forces. Trump repeatedly lied about the American mission, which he said has lasted 10 years and was supposed to last 30 days. All of that is false, except for the great service to Turkey, which managed to gain everything it wanted from the US without making any concessions.

(snip)

In a moment of phony modesty, Trump said "It's too early for me to be congratulated," and proceeded to praise himself. It's not too early to note, as the Kurds and many others have, that Trump just authored a shameful, disastrous chapter in US foreign policy. No amount of lies and bluster can hide that fact.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/23/opinions/trumps-lies-on-syria-were-jaw-dropping-ghitis/index.html
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Thu Oct 24, 2019, 11:51 AM (5 replies)

How Donald Trump created one hell of a mess with Iran

The shooting down of a US military drone by Iran on Thursday emphasizes that the conflict between the United States and Iran is deepening.

It's a crisis that President Donald Trump predictably provoked by pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal just over a year ago -- with no real Plan B beyond imposing ever-tougher sanctions on the Iranian regime.

(snip)

As a result of the rising tensions in the Middle East since May, the Trump administration has dispatched an aircraft carrier group to the region and deployed a total of 2,500 more troops to the Middle East.

The US doesn't have much leverage over the Europeans when it comes to Iran, since they continue to support the Iran deal. And Trump himself is also quite unpopular in these countries, so if the conflict with Iran deepens, don't expect much help from them.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/20/opinions/us-iran-mess-trump-endgame-bergen/index.html
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Fri Jun 21, 2019, 06:09 AM (13 replies)

New York Times: Tax documents show Trump businesses lost more than $1 billion in a decade

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's businesses reported losses of $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing information from tax documents from those years.

It appears Trump lost more money than nearly any other individual US taxpayer year after year, the Times reports, according to the 10 years of tax information the newspaper acquired.

Trump ran for president branding himself as a self-made billionaire, touting his financial success, but he has been steadfast in his refusal to release his tax returns to the public, despite mounting pressure from Congress. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin formally denied a request from the House Ways and Means Committee for Trump's last six years of tax returns, a period not covered by the documents reported by The Times on Tuesday.

In 1990 and 1991, Trump's core business losses were more than $250 million each year -- more than double those of the closest taxpayers in those years, the Times reports.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/07/politics/trump-tax-returns-losses/index.html
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Wed May 8, 2019, 09:17 AM (26 replies)

In Muellers Own Words: Read the Special Counsels Summary of the Mueller Report

Robert Mueller's full 448-page legal document might be daunting to read, so here is an 18-page summary he expressly wanted the public to see.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been the cause of political confusion ever since it was submitted to Attorney General William Barr on 22 March 2019. While many Americans may have read a few news reports about the document, listened to some talking heads, or encountered various tweets claiming everything from the Report’s total exoneration of the president to its grounds for impeachment, we’re skeptical many citizens have read the entire document.

While we encourage everyone to read the full report (you can access the report on the U.S. Justice Department’s website, from various news outlets, or by purchasing a print or audio copies), we think a summarized version is more realistic. Enter the special counsel himself.

Mueller prepared an introduction and an executive summary for both volumes of his report. Mueller’s introduction and executive summary to Volume I, which addressed Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, can be found here. You can read Mueller’s introduction and executive summary to Volume II, which dealt with issues of presidential obstruction of justice, here.

https://www.snopes.com/news/2019/05/02/read-mueller-report-summaries/

Hotlinks to the actual documents provided in the Snopes article that I have linked above.
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Sun May 5, 2019, 04:16 PM (55 replies)

The Secret to Winning in 2020

There is only one quality - beyond, of course, charisma - that Democrats should demand in their nominee. The Democrats need a candidate who can and will run as an economic populist.

(snip)

Trump’s populism is a mirage, but many voters believed it in 2016. He was the rare Republican who criticized free trade and seemed to care more about protecting Medicare than reducing the budget deficit. Trump managed to out-populist Hillary Clinton, and it’s a part of why he won.

Four years earlier, Barack Obama was the populist candidate. He ran for re-election casting himself as the defender of working people and Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy. The 2012 Obama was “more populist than any major party presidential nominee in decades,” as a column in The Guardian put it. The 2008 Obama, of course, ran against the financial crisis occurring on George W. Bush’s watch.

(snip)

We’re living in a populist era. The question is who figures out how to thrive in it. In 2016, it was Trump. It doesn’t need to be in 2020.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/16/opinion/democrats-2020-election-economic-populism.html

I want a president who will actually be an economic populist, not one who will just run as one.
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 09:55 AM (20 replies)

Trumps Lawyers, in Confidential Memo, Argue to Head Off a Historic Subpoena

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.

In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers fear that if he answers questions, either voluntarily or in front of a grand jury, he risks exposing himself to accusations of lying to investigators, a potential crime or impeachable offense.

Mr. Trump’s broad interpretation of executive authority is novel and is likely to be tested if a court battle ensues over whether he could be ordered to answer questions. It is unclear how that fight, should the case reach that point, would play out. A spokesman for Mr. Mueller declined to comment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/02/us/politics/trump-lawyers-memo-mueller-subpoena.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

All Trump has to do is tell the truth while under oath. His lawyers don't seem to trust him to perform this simple act of honesty.
Posted by New Deal Democrat | Sat Jun 2, 2018, 09:48 PM (56 replies)
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