You are browsing the archive for 2018 September 05.

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Trump Rants and Lies About the New York Times After Devastating Op-Ed Deals a Blow to His Presidency

September 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“A gutless editorial,” Trump said.

President Donald Trump was clearly rattled Wednesday at a public White House event after the New York Times published a blistering op-ed from an anonymous administration official who described the president as erratic and said top aides work to undermine his worst impulses.

While hosting a group of sheriffs, Trump blasted the op-ed — and the New York Times for running it — and desperately tried to defend his presidency.

“The failing New York Times has an anonymous editorial — can you believe it? Anonymous! Meaning gutless. A gutless editorial!” he bellowed. “We're doing a great job. The poll numbers are great. The poll numbers are through the roof. And guess what? Nobody is going to come close to beating me in 2020. Because of what we've done. We've done more than anyone ever thought possible.”

While many agreed with Trump's claim that it was “gutless” or “cowardly” to publish the op-ed anonymously, the president's long history of being an anonymous source — and sometimes, it seems, a pseudonymous source — for news reports made the attack pretty hypocritical. 

His rant was also filled with lies. Though he often likes to claim otherwise, the New York Times is far from “failing.” Even his own attacks on this front are contradictory. He said that Times is only surviving because his presidency drives circulation and traffic numbers — but this suggests that there's a large demand for the paper's work that is often critical of him.

He also blatantly lied by claiming that he has great poll numbers. His poll numbers are historically low, and they always have been — especially when the positive state of the economy is taken into account. And very recent polling suggests his poll numbers are getting even worse — they're absolutely not “through the roof.”

And it's just obviously untrue that he's done “more than anyone ever thought possible.” In many ways, from his dismal response to Hurricane Maria to the abusive family separation policy, his administration has been an unrelenting disaster. Even in crassest political terms, Trump has had two major shots at legislative legacy-making so …read more


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'A Coward — Not a Patriot': Former GOP Congressman Blasts Anonymous Trump Aide for Failing to Stand Up to the President

September 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Former Rep. David Jolly has some harsh words for the anonymous op-ed writer in the New York Times.

Following the publication of an op-ed in the New York Times by an anonymous senior administration official lambasting President Donald Trump's leadership and claiming they have “vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the president raged and stormed, calling the piece “gutless.”

And one of Trump's most vehement conservative critics agrees, although not for the same reason.

Speaking to reporters on MSNBC's “Deadline: White House” former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) laid into the mysterious writer for speaking from the shadows and not having the courage to go public — or even to go to Congress.

“There are millions of Americans right now, including myself, who are trying to temper their rage when they read this,” said Jolly. “These are the words of a coward, not a patriot.”

“There are two questions,” he went on. “First is, should the New York Times have published something with anonymity? And the answer is, they probably erred on the side of getting information out, and that's fine, that's a question of journalism. The question of patriotism is, the person who is willing to hide behind anonymity to suggest that the president that they serve, that they work for, the nation that they are trying to advance, is represented by somebody who is no longer fit for office.”

“You cannot orchestrate the president's behavior through anonymity and the New York Times,” Jolly said. “You do so … by going to Capitol Hill the branch that the founders suggested had oversight to control this type of behavior — and say, 'I want to testify, right now, about this president's failure to perform the very basic duties of his office.'”

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Kavanaugh Refuses to Say Whether He'd Uphold Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

September 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos

The nominee said he couldn't “give assurances on a hypothetical.”

While Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing is continuing, a court in Texas is hearing arguments to a challenge to the Affordable Care Act's basic constitutionality, and specifically its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

And yet when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked Kavanaugh directly whether he would uphold the statute preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, Kavanaugh wouldn't give a clear answer. “I can't give assurances on a specific hypothetical,” he told Whitehouse. Hypothetical, with this federal court challenge happening even as he spoke.

Kavanaugh has been slippery before on the ACA, avoiding making a decision on the constitutionality of the law in 2011 with a dodge. When the D.C. Circuit heard the challenge that ultimately went to the Supreme Court where it was upheld, the three-judge panel Kavanaugh sat on declared the law constitutional in a 2-1 decision. Kavanaugh kept his Republican bona fides intact by voting in dissent, but based his dissent on a technicality. He wouldn't say one way or the other whether he thought the law should be upheld, but instead said that the lawsuit should be dismissed for lack of standing until after a tax penalty at the heart of the challenge took effect.

Well, now that tax penalty has been repealed, which is the basis of the current challenge to the law. That makes Kavanaugh's dodge in his hearing even more weasely.

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Trump Launches White House 'Witch Hunt' to Identify Aides Who Talked to Watergate Journalist Woodward

September 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Hunter, Daily Kos

The president is on a mission to find the person or people who betrayed him.

Well, we knew this was coming: Bob Woodward's new book featuring lots and lots of unflattering descriptions of Trump is resulting in yet another Trump meltdown.

And so the White House is now engaged in a new, ahem, search for witch-like creatures.

President Donald Trump, showing his outrage over Bob Woodward's explosive new book, is ordering a real witch hunt in the West Wing and throughout his administration, asking loyal aides to help determine who cooperated with the book.

As the President publicly fumes on Twitter, he's privately on a mission to determine who did — and didn't — talk to Woodward, CNN has learned.

According to CNN, Donald is “pleased” by the obviously bogus statements of denial offered up by Defense Secretary James Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly, because Donald is the most amazingly gullible person on the planet, but he is suspicious of anyone who hasn't been as quick to provide immediate statements promising they didn't tell Bob Woodward what they quite obviously told Bob Woodward.

This reaction makes perfect sense, of course. Trump is first and foremost a liar, so what's important to him at the moment is not necessarily what his staff might have told Woodward months ago, but their willingness to lie about it now in their efforts to make him feel better. Trump is more experienced than any of them at secretly telling reporters one thing, often going to the lengths of using a laughable pseudonym, and then denying he did it afterward. Lying about what he previously said to someone is the man's wheelhouse; you want to impress him, you’d better be able to lie with the same shameless aplomb.

So get ready for an entire parade of one-page statements from every single current White House official asserting that no sir, by no means did they call their president an ant-brained dumbass, a spray-tanned buffoon, an idiot, a moron, or a television-addicted blowhard who would lose a game of tic-tac-toe to a mouldering old sock. However could Bob Woodward think we said such things? And …read more


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Quackery and Bluster Define SALT Lawsuit

September 5, 2018 in Economics

By Reilly Stephens

Reilly Stephens

In August, the Treasury Department issued new regulations
addressing the gimmicks various states concocted to dodge a new
$10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction (pun inducingly
known as SALT). Blue-state politicians such as New Jersey Gov. Phil
Murphy decried “[the
president’s] unfair and arbitrary tax hike on working and
middle class families” (just how many working-class families
in New Jersey pay more than $10,000 a year in state taxes remains
unclear). This rhetoric also comes with a lawsuit, which was filed
in July by New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut, and
claims that capping the deduction is not simply a policy
disfavorable to those state’s citizens but an
unconstitutional attack on federalism itself.

While one can debate the policy merits of the cap, and the
tax-reform legislation as a whole, the contention that it offends
any constitutional principle whatsoever should be consigned to the
dustbin of quackery and bluster.

Explaining tax policy without the reader falling asleep is more
or less the Kobayashi Maru of op-ed writing, but I’ve never
believed in no-win scenarios. The gist is this: Until the recent
tax bill, state taxes were deductible from your federal income tax.
That is, if you made $100,000 a year, and your state tax obligation
was $20,000, for purposes of federal income tax you only had an
income of $80,000 dollars. This was an effective subsidy for
high-tax states — they could raise taxes on their citizens at
a discount since the increased state taxes paid would be
compensated by a decrease in federal liability.

While one can debate the
policy merits of the cap, and the tax-reform legislation as a
whole, the contention that it offends any constitutional principle
whatsoever should be consigned to the dustbin of quackery and

Last December’s tax bill limited this free ride. The
deduction is capped at $10,000 (for couples), and so in our example
the feds will tax you on $90,000 worth of your income. Citizens of
high-tax states will now more fully feel the brunt of both state
and federal regimes. Low-tax states perhaps gained some solace from
the remedy of this inequality, but their relief was no match for
the high-tax states’ indignation.

Saddled with the horror of their citizens actually noticing how
much they were paying in taxes, the high-tax states decided to sue.
Their claim, such as it is, is that decreasing the cushion
protecting state taxes limits their “sovereign
authority” to tax their citizens into penury. They also point
out that the high-tax states are mostly blue and the low tax states
mostly red. Therefore, limiting the state and …read more

Source: OP-EDS