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'Where Is the Winning?': Columnist Details Trump's Impressive Record of Failure as President

August 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Compared to what he promised, Trump has a pathetic record.


President Donald Trump famously made the cartoonish and ridiculous campaign pledge that, “We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with the winning.”

But since taking office, Trump has blamed his repeated failures on everyone else — Democrats, Republicans, Robert Mueller, President Barack Obama, the media — while claiming “wins” even when they don't exist.

In a new column Thursday, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent asked the simple question: “Where is the winning?”

He pointed out that what are often claimed as wins are merely policies implemented that will, in theory, please his base, even if the policies fail to live up to his own stated objectives. As Josh Barro recently argued, Trump's purported success in overhauling the Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, is much more fragile than it appears, in part because the reforms have valued style over substance.

Sargent argues this point persuasively on the immigration front as well. Despite an initial decrease in immigration rates in Trump's first year in office, the levels have picked back up again in 2018 even as the administration implements cruel and draconian policies along the border. It's hard to see how this is “winning,” even by Trump's warped standard.

And one key policy move — separating immigrant families at the border — turned out to be not only a moral disaster but a political liability and an administrative mess. Meanwhile, Trump's foreign policy has been nearly catastrophic.

“The larger question we need to be debating is whether we’re currently witnessing the failure of Trump’s xenophobic nationalist agenda on multiple fronts — and on its own terms,” Sargent wrote. “Trump’s trade war, which was also conceived out of xenophobic — and not economic — nationalism, is another case in point. Trump’s tariffs were supposed to make other countries quickly capitulate to our demands; that isn’t happening, and we’re hearing more and more stories of layoffs flowing from the resulting escalation in trade hostilities.”

He continued:

The story that Trump told to the “forgotten men and women” was that they were getting …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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American Boatbuilders Are the Latest Casualty in Trump's Trade War

August 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Hunter, Daily Kos

The aluminum tariffs are causing boat prices to jump.


Add boatbuilders to the list of American industries taking a beating due to Trump's new tariffs and resulting trade war. A retaliatory European Union tariff of 25 percent is drying up sales overseas, and Trump's aluminum tariffs just happen to hit the thing that small recreational boats need a lot of: aluminum.

A typical pontoon might sell for about $30,000, but that could soon rise to as much as $37,000, according to CEO Doug Smoker. That’s largely because of the rising cost of aluminum, “the No. 1 commodity” that goes into his boats. (Five years ago, Smoker moved to all-American purchasing wherever feasible, but the company is still getting squeezed, because demand for U.S.-made aluminum surged with the tariffs, pushing prices up.)

Nonetheless, Smoker figured the company was in decent shape — until retaliatory tariffs were imposed by Canada, where more than a quarter of his fishing boats are sold. He rushed as much inventory as he could north of the border. But since the levies went into effect July 1, sales there have “dried up.”

Potential boat purchasers may be inured to the notion of chucking money into their new watery hobby, but still: a sudden $7,000 increase in the price of a $30,000 boat is something most purchasers are going to notice, and it's very likely that anyone who does need a recreational boat right-the-heck-now will be waiting until someone, somewhere talks some sense into Rich Orange Trade War Guy. And there are very few people in America who need a recreational boat right-the-heck-now.

While the tariffs are impacting small and large boatbuilders alike—the Los Angeles Times notes a builder of multimillion dollar crafts is suffering as well—there is no word on how these tariffs will affect the sale of fresh new Cayman Islands flags. For that we'll have to ask someone like Trump Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and so far she's not commenting on any of this.

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InfoWars' Hateful Content Appears to Blatantly Violate Twitter Policy — But the CEO Is Claiming Otherwise

August 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said InfoWars wasn't banned from Twitter because he doesn't violate Twitter Policy. CNN fact checked that claim.


Notorious far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has seen his InfoWars site banned from much of social media over the past several days. Facebook, YouTube, and Apple have all terminated his accounts and removed his content. But Twitter resolutely refuses to follow suit — a fact for which Jones himself has praised the site.

And on Tuesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey offered an explanation:

The problem with this is that, when CNN investigated, they found that Jones did, in fact, violate Twitter's terms of service.

Twitter ostensibly prohibits harassment, and “hateful conduct” targeted at a group of people. “Jones has repeatedly degraded individuals of the Muslim faith. He has attacked people on the basis of gender identity. And he has engaged in the harassment of individuals,” writes Oliver Darcy.

Moreover, Twitter's vice president for trust and safety, Del Harvey, recently stated that if Jones had posted the the same content on Twitter that had gotten him removed from platforms like YouTube and Facebook, “we would have taken action against him as well.” But CNN's investigation shows several of those exact same videos were, in fact, uploaded to Twitter as well.

In addition to his rants about government weather control and chemical warfare on the population that turns frogs gay, Jones is known for spreading inflammatory, hateful content. He …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Collins' Spokesperson Confirms Republican Congressman Has Been Paying Huge Legal Bills with Campaign Contributions

August 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

Things keep looking worse for the overtly corrupt congressman.


Congratulations to Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-NY) donors. Not only has he been arrested for insider trading, but you guys have been paying his rather impressive legal fees—up to $60,000 a month!

A spokesman for the Collins legal team confirmed that the payments from the campaign were for the investigation by the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics and an ongoing inquiry by the House Ethics Committee. Going forward, the congressman will pay for his legal bills out of his own pocket, the spokesman added.

Isn’t that big of him—now that he’s actually been arrested in a criminal case and not just investigated by ethics offices, he’ll pay his own bills. What a guy.

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Source: ALTERNET

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'The President Is Starting to Sweat': MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace Bursts Out Laughing at Giuliani's Damning Comments About Trump

August 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Rudy Giuliani has a tendency to make things worse for the president.


MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace burst into laughter Thursday afternoon while watching a clip of Rudy Giuliani once again doing more damage to his client, President Donald Trump, and his defense in the Russia investigation.

“There are new signs today that the president is starting to sweat special counsel Robert Mueller's obstruction of justice investigation,” Wallace said. “Rudy Giuliani explained exactly how Trump could perjure himself, and what the topic might be.”

She then played a clip of Giuliani appearing on Fox News host Sean Hannity's show the night before, discussing why he doesn't want special counsel Robert Mueller to interview the president:

He's going to ask him: Did you tell Comey to go easy on Flynn? The president's going to say, 'No, I didn't.' Hey, Bob! You know it! Why do you want to get him under oath? You think we're fools? You want to get him under oath so you can trap him into perjury? We're not going to let you do that.

It was a startling moment to watch the president's lawyer imply that the president would have no option but to lie when asked if he tried to unduly influence an ongoing federal investigation. Wallace cracked up after hearing these remarks, saying as she laughed: “He wants to get him under oath to see if he'll answer truthfully!”

Her disdain for Giuliani was even clearer after she played a clip of him saying falsely that the Steel dossier was the impetus for the FBI investigation into Trump's campaign and that it is Hillary Clinton who should be investigated for collusion with Russians.

“Oh my God, Rudy needs to check his carbon monoxide monitors,” said Wallace. “The surest sign yet that Team Trump knows it has problems: 'Look over there! The collusion, the obstruction! They're somewhere over there…'”

Watch the clip below:

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Kids Are Safer When They're in Private Schools

August 9, 2018 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Representatives from President Trump’s Federal Commission on
School Safety just met in Cheyenne, Wyo., for their third
public listening session aimed at reducing violence in schools. In
these meetings, people have called for arming teachers with guns, hiring more counselors, putting more officers on campuses, and throwing more
money at the issue. But none of these types of proposals address
the root of the school safety problem.

A just-released study by
Harvard University’s Dr. Dany Shakeel and I suggests that private
school vouchers could be tickets to safer schools.

A just-released study by Harvard University’s Dr.
Dany Shakeel and I suggests that private school vouchers could be
tickets to safer schools.

We employ nationally representative data from the Schools and Staffing Survey for the most recently
available (2011-12) school year. Using survey responses from school
principals across the nation, we find that safety problems are less
likely to occur at private schools than government schools. In
fact, we find that private schools have a statistically significant
advantage for each of the 13 discipline problems examined – even
after controlling for factors such as school size, school type,
enrollment, student-teacher ratio, percent of minority teachers,
percent of minority students, and urbanicity.

And the safety benefits of private schooling are large.

For example, as shown in the figure below, private schools are
about 8 percentage points less likely to have physical conflicts
among students and 12 percentage points less likely to have
students using illegal drugs than government schools. Moreover,
private schools are about 18 percentage points less likely to have
gang activities at school and 28 percentage points less likely to
have student possession of weapons than government schools.

But that’s not all. We also find that private schools are less
likely to restrict student liberties than government schools. After
controlling for student and school characteristics, we find that
private schools are about 6 percentage points less likely to
require students to pass through metal detectors each day, 20
percentage points less likely to search for drugs using random dog
sniffs, and 7 percentage points less likely to require students to
use clear backpacks. Obviously, the prison-like environment in
government schools doesn’t create a healthy school culture, which
could lead to less student learning and more discipline
problems.

And this new study isn’t the only evidence suggesting that
private school choice can lead to more safety for students in U.S.
schools. As I pointed out at the second public listening
session (in Lexington, Ky.) all four rigorous evaluations linking private
school choice …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Why America’s Allies Should Develop Nuclear Weapons

August 9, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Germans are losing their trust in America’s security guarantees.
Believing that U.S. troops would always defend Europe, Berlin has
allowed its military outlays and capabilities to wither. German
defense spending at present barely breaks 1 percent of GDP. With
only slight overstatement, political scientist Christian Hacke
recently said of the German military, “nothing flies, nothing
floats, and nothing runs.”

For years, Washington officials have whined about Europe’s and
especially Germany’s failure to take defense seriously. Yet the
U.S. also continued to spend money and deploy troops to “reassure”
its allies, giving them less incentive to do more.

Despite his tough rhetoric, in practice, President Donald
Trump’s policy has proven to be more of the same. He criticized
America’s defense commitments to Montenegro, yet allowed it to
enter NATO. At the latest alliance summit, his subordinates
advanced new subsidies for member states. This year the
administration is putting another $6.5 billion into the European
Deterrence Initiative, formerly called the European Reassurance
Initiative.

Nevertheless, the president’s crude hostility and
unpredictability have set him apart from his predecessors. Thus,
many Germans and other Europeans worry that he might walk away from
NATO.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been particularly vocal.
Last year she defiantly responded to President Trump’s criticism by
calling on Europeans to “take our fate into our own hands.” She
remains committed to bumping her country’s military outlays up to 2
percent of GDP, despite opposition from her coalition partners.

Proliferation is a good
thing if it means relieving some of America’s numerous security
guarantees.

Other Germans want to do even more. For instance, shortly after
Trump’s election, Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of the Bundestag
and former German general staff officer, suggested creating a
European military budget to expand the French and British nuclear
arsenals. Berthold Kohler, publisher of the influential
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, urged direct German
support.

Two weeks ago, the Welt am Sonntag ran an article by
Christian Hacke that argued Germany was no longer under America’s
nuclear umbrella and that “national defense on the basis of a
nuclear deterrent must be given priority in light of new
transatlantic uncertainties and potential confrontations.”
Criticism of his idea was fierce — a former intelligence
official denounced it as “reckless, foolish, and incendiary.”

U.S. commentators also dumped on Hacke’s proposal. Jim Townsend,
a one-time deputy defense secretary, argued: “Trump
notwithstanding, the U.S. nuclear guarantee is not going anywhere.”
That, of course, is the conventional wisdom inside the Blob, as the
Washington foreign policy establishment has been called, which also
believes that America must forever defend Europe, Asia, and the
Middle East; fix failed societies and sort out foreign civil wars
everywhere; and underwrite every authoritarian regime that claims
to …read more

Source: OP-EDS