Posts Tagged ‘politics’

How polarizing is Donald Trump?

January 4, 2019

“From the very start of Donald Trump’s presidency, Americans have been divided along partisan lines in their views of him. But partisan divisions in U.S. politics are certainly nothing new.

Do views of Trump represent a change from how past presidents have been seen? How do changes in the country that have occurred in recent decades connect to the way the president is viewed today?”

The Pew Research Center explores, using polling data.

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Trump Tantrum Prolongs His Government Shutdown

December 29, 2018

Trump Tantrum Prolongs His Government Shutdown
As the end of the year approaches, President Donald Trump has thrown a temper tantrum, shutting down the federal government, and barricaded himself in the White House until his extortionate demands are met. If congress wants to reopen the government, he wants $5 billion for a border wall of undetermined design. No wall, no government.

Seeking new threat targets, Mr. Trump now says he’ll shut down the southern border if he doesn’t get his way, a move that would violate international law and cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars.

The chief executive continues to sulk in the White House, foregoing a planned Mar-a-Lago New Year’s party.

More:

“Trump struggles to make a coherent case for his border wall,” Steve Benen, MSNBC

“More Americans blame Trump for government shutdown: Reuters/Ipsos poll,” Chris Kahn and Ginger Gibson, Reuters

“Most Americans would rather spend the $5 billion Trump is demanding for the border wall on infrastructure, education, or healthcare,” Bob Bryan and Walt Hickey, Business Insider

“About That Wall Trump Said Mexico Would Be Paying For: QuickTake,” Mark Niquette, Bloomberg, via Washington Post

“No Deal in Sight: Shutdown Here to Stay Amid Border Wall Stalemate,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

“Trump: Give Me a Wall or I’ll Engineer a Recession,” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

Related:

“Trump admin to unpaid federal workers who can’t make rent: beg, barter, and get a lawyer.” Boing Boing

“Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve Party Despite Trump’s Shutdown,” Ryan Bort, New York Post

“Five lessons that never seem to be learned from shutting down the government,” Leon Panetta, Washington Post

“The Border Wall Is a Symbol of Our Symbolic Politics,” Jonah Goldberg, National Review

Update:

“Trump Gripes About Lonely Xmas With No One But ‘Machine Gunners’ Who Don’t Smile,” Nicole Lafond, TPM Livewire

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The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

December 20, 2018

The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

This week New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that she is euthanizing the rogue Donald J. Trump Foundation. The so-called nonprofit outfit was directly run by Donald Trump and three of his spawn. Rather than engaging in charitable actives,said the AG, there was a“shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation—including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more. This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” This included funding Trump Senior’s election campaign, promoting his businesses, paying off his legal obligations.

As Charles Blow observes, “How can a family that can’t run a charity run a country?”

More:

“Trump’s Crooked Foundation Dissolves, But Investigation Continues,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Clinton Foundation exec mocks Trump Foundation closing amid legal trouble
BY Morgan Gstalter, The Hill

“What the Collapse of the Trump Foundation Tells Us About Donald Trump,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“Trump lashes out at New York attorney general who sued his foundation,” David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

“Trump Foundation dissolves, but Trump abuses and pursuit of personal gain live on,” Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen, USA Today

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Above the Law

December 14, 2018

“Above the Law,” written by Betty Wright and Angelo Morris, recorded by The O’Jays, 2018.

The O’Jays website

More:

“Old-school R&B group The O’Jays get into a political groove,” Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

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Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

November 13, 2018

Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

After firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump appointed right-wing political hack Matthew Whitaker, a man the president doesn’t know (except when he does) as acting attorney general. There are a few issues with Mr. Whitaker’s appointment, chief among them the fact that it’s against the law. The Constitution, Which Donald Trump swore to defend, requires principal federal cabinet officers to be confirmed by the senate, and Matt Whitaker wasn’t. His appointment was illegal. Even Kellyanne Conway’s husband says so. So does Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano.

But there’s more. As acting AG, Matt Whitaker oversees the Mueller investigation, and he is already on record criticizing it, suggesting he would choke off Mueller’s funding. Mr. Whitaker has also opined that judges should be Christian, and the courts are an inferior branch of government, an interesting stance for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

And Matt Whitaker has some distinctly unchristian episodes in his past. He was on the board of World Patent Marketing, which paid a judgment of $25,987,192 to the FTC for defrauding inventors. Mr. Whitaker used his reputation as a former federal prosecutor to threaten inventors who complained. A perfect AG pick for a president with fraud judgments of his own.

More:

“Acting attorney general reportedly interviewed to be a ‘legal attack dog’ for Trump against Mueller,” Bonnie Kristian, The Week

“Trump’s acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“Whitaker abandoned taxpayer-funded project in Iowa in 2016,” Ryan J. Foley and David Pitt, Associated Press

“Who Is Matt Whitaker And Why Is He Illegally Pretending To Be The Attorney General?” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“Trump pick Whitaker rose through ranks as partisan targeting Democrats,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“The rules are clear: Whitaker can’t supervise Mueller’s investigation,”Neal Katyal, Washington Post

“A Quick Primer on the Legality of Appointing Matthew Whitaker as ‘Acting’ Attorney General, and Whitaker’s Power to Influence the Russia Investigation,” Marty Lederman, Just Security

Update:

“Whitaker’s Appointment as Acting Attorney General Faces Court Challenge,” Charlie Savage, Washington Post

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Jimmy Carter’s Letter to Brian Kemp

October 31, 2018

Jimmy Carter's Letter to Brian Kemp

Former president and Georgia resident Jimmy Carter wrote to his state’s Republican nominee for governor, Brian Kemp, asking him to resign as Georgia secretary of state. The secretary of state oversees elections.

October 22, 2018

To Secretary of State Brian Kemp:

I have officially observed scores of doubtful elections in many countries, and one of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be nonbiased supervision of the electoral process.

In Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and … serious questions … about the security of Georgia’s voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate. This runs counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections — that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority. Other secretaries of state have stepped down while running for election within their jurisdiction, to ensure that officials without a direct stake in the process can take charge and eliminate concerns about a conflict of interest.

In order to foster voter confidence in the upcoming election, which will be especially important if the race ends up very close, I urge you to step aside and hand over to a neutral authority the responsibility of overseeing the governor’s election. This would not address every concern, but it would be a sign that you recognize the importance of this key democratic principle and want to ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Carter

Emphasis added. The full text of the letter is here

In case you forgot, before he monitored elections across the world, before he served as president, Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia, the position Brian Kemp is attempting to procure by questionable means.

More:

“Jimmy Carter Calls For Georgia Secretary Of State’s Resignation In Personal Plea,” Colin Dwyer, NPR News

“Watch the Georgia Minority Vote Disappear Before Your Eyes,” Jamil Smith, Rolling Stone

“Stealing an election in Georgia: everything you need to know about voter suppression,” Sophie McBain, New Statesman

“Where Voter Suppression Hits Hardest in Georgia,” Brentin Mock, CityLab

Updates:

“Judge orders Georgia to allow new U.S. citizens to vote,” Shannon Vavra, Axios

“How Voting Became a Central Issue in the Georgia Governor’s Race,” Richard Fausset, New York Times

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Mitch McConnell Says He’s Coming For Your Health Care

October 22, 2018

Mitch McConnell Says He's Coming For Your Health Care

“Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday, calling a failed 2017 push to repeal the healthcare law a ‘disappointment.’

In a forecast of 2019 policy goals tempered by uncertainty about who would win the congressional elections, McConnell blamed social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, for the fast-rising national debt.”

— “McConnell says Senate Republicans might revisit Obamacare repeal,” David Morgan, Reuters

More:

“Mitch McConnell blames the soaring deficit on Medicare and Social Security, not the GOP tax cuts,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Republican Doublespeak on Health Care Starts at the Top,” Max Nisen, Bloomberg

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Beto’s Beefed-Up Texas Campaign

October 19, 2018

Beto's Beefed-Up Texas Campaign

Back in August, Ted Cruz spokesperson Emily Miller called his Democratic political opponent Beto O’Rourke “a Triple Meat Whataburger liberal who is out of touch with Texas values.” The beef (ahem) started when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram claimed the O’Rouke logo looks like a Whataburger Spicy Ketchup packet.

Unlike Emily Miller (Baltimore) and Ted Cruz (Canada!), Whataburger and Beto O’Rourke were both born in Texas. So was film director Richard Linklater (BoyhoodDazed and ConfusedSlacker), who calls out Mr. Cruz for his distinctly un-Texan affection for White Castle sliders:

(more…)

Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

October 19, 2018

Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

“Donald Trump has praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a Guardian reporter, saying that someone who performs a body slam is ‘my guy.’

Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, was asking Gianforte a question about health care policy in the course of a special congressional election in Bozeman, Montana. The US president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters on Thursday night when he said: ‘Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never.’

As the cheers rang out across an aircraft hangar in Missoula, Trump went on to say: ‘Any guy that can do a body slam … he’s my guy.’

Trump’s comments mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil.”

— “Trump praises Gianforte for assault on Guardian reporter: ‘He’s my guy,'” Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

In related news, PEN America is suing Mr.Trump in New York district court, claiming he “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution,” a document which doesn’t consider the press to be the Enemy of the People.

More:

“Trump’s Attacks on the Press Are Illegal. We’re Suing.” Suzanne Nossel, Politico

“Suing Trump for endangering the First Amendment,” Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Yale Law clinic helps writers group file First Amendment suit against Trump,” Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

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Trickle-Down Economics Is Trickling Away

October 11, 2018

Trickle-Down Economics Is Trickling Away

That old voodoo economics has the president in its spell, but where’s the magic?

Noah Smith: “If Trump’s corporate tax cuts end up having no observable effect on workers’ pay, it will be the final blow to the supply-side worldview.”

— “Trump Puts Supply-Side Economics to Its Final Test,” Noah Smith, Bloomberg

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