48 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-22-17

  1. Is this for real?! Hopefully not. I hate to say it, but maybe Ricky and Dreher are right and some elder statesman in the Republican Party should give a private warning to the Prez before he does something that gets him rightfully impeached. VP Pence is the only one I can think of who might be able to pull it off without landing on the front page…or Twitter. :–/

    Scoop from The Washington Post tonight:
    Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

    Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.
    Trump’s legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

    “This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’ ” a close adviser said.
    Which says to me, this is in the context of ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself.’
    Seriously, though, if he pulls anything like this, he will have to be impeached. We cannot endure a president so contemptuous of the law, and of normal legal procedures. Congressional Republicans had better make this very clear, right now.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have been immersed in real estate for the past month and haven’t given much attention to The Circus. I will come up for air long enough to state that who I vote for is my business and no one else’s. That is why they give you voting booths or tables with dividers. How can they know my voting record? If they can, it goes back further than this election!
    I didn’t want either one of them.
    Our government is falling apart
    They will use this to do away with the electoral college and then most of us will have no say in our government.

    Please, please, Dear Lord, let there being a level headed, strong woman out there with no skeletons in her closet who can run for President in 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The American Conservative tweeted about this article today. I think it was re-written from 2014 or from a 2014 speech, not sure, but it’s relevant now, especially as there is talk of not only minimum wage, but minimum income.

    Minimum income is one of those ideas that sound nice and compassionate on the surface, but if you scratch very deep at all you can foresee a multitude of problems. One of which is that the whole idea fails to take into account that man is not just a physical being, but spiritual as well. I believe God created man with an internal need to work, to have an assignment of some kind that is a part of his creative purpose for being here. That would be the means through which a person glorifies God with his life. Maybe theoretically, if there was little need of human labor, the need to work could be expressed in other ways. But I have a hard time imagining that human beings can be satisfied for long without both Worship and work.

    Just a non-T related thought. :–)


    Liked by 1 person

  4. The establishment is out to get trump.
    They may do it, there are lots of them and they have the media.
    But Trump is a fighter.
    He will not go quietly.
    Reminds me of Judges, Chapter 16.
    The Philistines were out to get Samson.
    They did.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Debra, I don’t think any Republican leaders are going to give Trump any more warnings. As Chas said, they want him gone. They see him as a danger to the Republican Party and the country. The Democrats are looking forward to running against Trump in 2018 and 2020. I could see Trump’s old buddy Chuck Schumer giving him a private warning to try to keep him in office. However, if word of that warning ever leaked out (and it probably would), the Democrat rank and file would barbeque Schumer.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Something I shared on Facebook. . .

    “Okay folks, here I am again to remind us all to double-check the facts & contexts of things we share. The latest thing I read that I felt needed to be fact-checked was a quote by President Trump, seeming to indicate that he thinks that insurance only costs either $12 a year, or $15 a month, depending on where you see the quote.

    Well, I don’t think President Trump always comes across as the brightest bulb in the box, & I’m certainly NOT a fan of his, but I thought he couldn’t be that ignorant. So I found the Economist interview that was referenced in one article, & found the quote where he seems to claim that insurance is only $15 a month. He was saying that insurance *should* work that way, not that it does. The quote:

    ~~~”[D]on’t forget, this was not supposed to be the way insurance works. Insurance is, you’re 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance.”~~~

    Did you see the Snopes article I shared about the lies & misrepresentations that have been made about Trump? It is remarkable for the fact that Snopes is generally considered to be liberal, but was trying to be non-partisan & fair.

    Unfortunately, the same kind of twisting, misrepresentation, & cherry-picking of visuals or partial quotes of any political or public figures is far too common. But so many people LIKE to believe the worst of the people/groups they disagree with.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Russia is a nothing burger” …….. Can I pardon my friends, family and self? Third World dictators are more consistent.

    Sessions expand civil forfeiture …. Jeff Sessions has suspicious Russian connections …. that’s enough justification, take his property and wealth.

    One of the differences between Obama and Trump’s approach to health care is the collaborative approach Obama took. He made sure he included every player from patients to medical personnel to insurance companies making any attempt to unravel the ACA almost impossible.


  8. Bret Stephens gives a foreign policy scorecard:

    I keep hearing about “Snopes”. I haven’t heard that word since we were in high school English reading William Faulkner.


  9. HRW, On healthcare, I don’t think Obama did a very good job of considering the interests of:

    1. The taxpayers (particularly unborn taxpayers); and

    2. People who purchased low premium health insurance because they were willing to pay high co-pays with higher deductibles in exchange for those low premiums.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Everyone knows I’m not a huge Reagan fan, but this is a book I might be tempted to read. Has anyone read “The Working Class Republican” by Henry Olsen? The review is intriguing.

    …If anything, the Reagan that Olsen discovers seems less like a New Dealer and more like an earnest Gilded Age Republican, the sort who supported protective tariffs to boost wages for industrial workers as well as a generous pension program for the widows, orphans, and wounded veterans of the Civil War. A William McKinley rather than a Franklin Roosevelt.

    If Olsen is imprecise on the intellectual tradition from which Reagan comes, he is as sharp as a tack on what Reagan’s legacy means for conservatives today. His last chapter serves as a sweeping rebuke of the successors of Reagan within the Republican party. He argues that the GOP has failed to follow through on Reagan’s dream of building a new majority coalition because it has misunderstood its hero’s priorities.

    Instead of looking for ways to lift up the broad middle of the country, Republicans have fallen into three traps. First, their emphasis on tax cuts for the wealthy, combined with cuts to entitlement programs, gives the impression that they value money over people. Second, prioritizing abstractions like the budget deficit or constitutional limitations to government makes it seem like Republican leaders are out of touch with ordinary Americans. Third, their occasional interest in extreme poverty (such as George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservative” agenda and Paul Ryan’s efforts after 2012) makes them seem uninterested in the sorts of working-class Americans who flocked to Reagan’s banner.

    Republicans have won elections, of course, but Olsen reckons that this is not because Republican candidates and policies have been especially attractive but because the Democratic obsession with Wallace-style central planning has been especially unattractive. Still, there is more than a little food for thought here. I was particularly persuaded by Olsen’s claim that Republicans have lost Reagan’s connection to average Americans—and not just because they can’t imitate his superlative use of political rhetoric. Reagan’s agenda had a grounding in the real problems of everyday Americans that, Olsen rightly notes, the Paul Ryan plan does not. That was also a problem with the recent failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare: Neither the House nor the Senate version offered a positive vision of how people would be able reliably to afford medical care in the future….


    Liked by 2 people

  11. Debra, I have not read the book, but I can make a few comments:

    1. Reagan did away with the special lower tax rate on capital gains. Congress and Big Bush later restored this form of rich man’s welfare.

    2. Reagan (as much as any current politician) believed in constitutional limitations on government.

    3. Reagan modified the Social Security rules in a fair way that caused all to bear a portion of the burden in order to keep that Ponzi scheme solvent for another 50 years. The rich paid a lot of those new taxes as the base on which FICA taxes are imposed was steadily increased. However, everybody paid some and we are now required to work longer before drawing Social Security unless we are disabled or successfully fake disability. Social Security and Medicare are the government’s biggest programs which benefit the middle class.

    4. Reagan would have been very concerned that so many of the “working class” have left the labor market and are not working. I think he would have tried to inspire them with speeches, but I also think he might have figured that a reduction in handouts would also help. That was his view in the early eighties.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I almost forgot. I think Reagan would have been smart enough to identify the hidden victims of Obamacare, another group that Obama did not consult. These would be the people that lost full time jobs or were unable to find full time jobs because their employers were unable to pay for their health insurance as required by law.


  13. Oh no. It looks like the prince of darkness is being recruited to do the things the US military apparently can’t be trusted to do, or do right. And the worst part is it probably won’t even result in a good SNL skit, since the President’s twitter sucks up all the oxygen in the room. Don’t you hate it when the new regime starts to behave just like the old regime….

    On July 10, the New York Times revealed that the Trump White House had recruited Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious private security firm Blackwater, and wealthy Trump backer Steve Feinberg, the owner of the high-profile military contractor DynCorp International, to “devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan.” The story suggested that the president and his top advisers were dissatisfied with the military’s thinking on the conflict, the subject of an intense series of a consultations between senior military officers and Trump’s national security team over the last several months…..


    Liked by 2 people

  14. Great — You now have a president who thinks he can pardon himself and now wants his own private mercenary force to do his wishes since he doesn’t like the military’s advice. Private praetorian guard — another feature in the Third World.

    Erik Prince is the brother of Betsy de Vos. Nepotism — another feature in the Third World.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. A nepotism charge might make sense talking about Donald Jr. or Ivanka. But it’s Trump – not deVos – doing business with Erik Prince. I don’t see deVos pulling any strings here.

    Now if Erik Prince got a sweet position in the Education department, that might be a nepotism story…


  16. One side is willing to testify on the record. The other, and the one’s largely responsible for the whole charade, will not. Very telling.


    “Fusion GPS Co-founder Behind Bogus Trump-Russia “Dossier” Taking the 5th
    Meanwhile, Team Trump agrees to testify before Senate committees”

    “Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, is taking the 5th and will not testify to his or his firm’s role in the compilation of the discredited Trump-Russia “Dossier.”

    Meanwhile, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump, Jr. have agreed to a closed Q&A with the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Jared Kushner will testify in a closed session before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The Washington Examiner reports:
    The co-founder of the firm that authored the infamous “Russian dossier” on President Trump will not testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week.

    Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and his attorneys said Simpson was traveling and wouldn’t be available. But they also appeared to vent some frustration at the committee when they wrote that Simpson was “profoundly disturbed” that the hearings were becoming functions of “partisan agendas” in his opinion, Reuters reported.

    The unsubstantiated dossier, sometimes referred to as the “Steele Dossier,” has been a contentious item with a long, strange history in the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

    According to Fox News, both Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Feinstein (D-CA) have confirmed that Simpson will take the 5th”

    That’s funny, him worrying about “partisan agendas” now. He had no such misgivings when his partisan agenda hit piece was filling the airwaves with lies and innuendo.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Another show vote from Republicans, also doomed to fail. But at least this time I guess that’s the point.


    “One of my favorite things to come out of the Republican ObamaCare flailing is Kemberlee’s term for it: a cluster. It is that. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has one card left up his sleeve, and he intends to use it next week: force his caucus to record for their constituents (and for posterity) their vote on ObamaCare repeal. (Democrats will vote, too, of course, but we know how that will go.)

    I like this move. Put every single Republican on record for once and for all on ObamaCare repeal, and let us see who stands where and how that compares to the numerous repeal votes each cast when Obama was in the White House, veto pen at the ready.

    This isn’t a single-play for McConnell; it’s part of one-two punch that he hopes will rally Trump supporters and others who want ObamaCare gone (or those who want to keep it.). The pressure resulting from a formal repeal ObamaCare vote will help him herd recalcitrant members behind . . . something that is less of a cluster.”


  18. Trump issued a bunch of silly and dishonest Tweets this morning. This one insures that the primary topic on all the Sunday talk shows will be: Does Trump have the right to pardon himself?


  19. Apparently, Trump may be complaining about the latest Sessions leak. It is interesting that Republicans think that leak came from Trump himself in an attempt to force Sessions to resign.


  20. He contributed to the Clintons. His personal behavior is like that of Bill Clinton. He invited the Clintons to at least one of his weddings. Should anyone be surprised that his behavior when he is the target of investigators is an imitation of the Clintons?


  21. We are going to take the kids to see Dunkirk this afternoon. I was surprised that my wife was so excited to see it, and was so familiar with the historical event. My wife is a huge Greer Garson fan, and it turns out she learned about Dunkirk from references in Mrs. Miniver.

    DJ, My wife is also a big fan of both Myrna Loy and Cary Grant. We actually saw Myrna Loy perform in a play at Casa Manana (our local theater in Fort Worth) in the mid 70s.


  22. Undeterred by the whole Trump experience, Republicans may be doubling down on the use of famous morons.

    This reminds me of a first strike use of nuclear weapons between the US and the Soviet Union. I fear the Democrats have a greater supply of famous morons.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. And by ‘communize’ you mean what? Fix healthcare like Singapore or Chile? Update infrastructure? End corporate welfare and tax cuts to the wealthy? Institute tariffs to boost workers wagers? Tax capital gains?

    Maybe they’ll Reaganize us. ;–)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I did say “further communize”. They would have LBJ’s base to build upon. Based on the historical comments of Trump and Schumer, I would predict:

    A. An incredibly wasteful and expensive single payer healthcare system that makes our current mess look frugal and efficient.

    B. A trillion dollars in “infrastructure” spending which will be doled out as effectively and efficiently as Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus.

    C. Tariffs and other forms of protectionism that will shrink the economy and sharply reduce the purchasing power of the dollar. Think of us as a paler version of Venezuela.

    D. Ivanka’ family leave bill, fancied up with various add-ons for perverts and other “non-traditional” families, making employers extremely unwilling to hire any new employees.

    E. Ivanka, Jared and Schumer would cause Trump to awaken to the “dangers” of global warming, and various Trump buddies would join Al Gore as new members of the Green Rich.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. BTW, Capital gains are still taxed. As under Jimmy Carter, they are now taxed at lower rates than other forms on income. It was briefly under Reagan that all forms of income (wages, dividends, interest, capital gains, commissions, bonuses, business income, etc) were all taxed at the same rate.


  26. We’re seeing Dunkirk this afternoon, too, thus viewing Mrs. Miniver because I’m like Ricky’s wife.

    I expect to be watching through my fingers and may bring earplugs. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Yes Senator, but does anybody in their right mind think this is a good idea–even were it needed. Probably not.

    Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that President Trump likely has the power to pardon himself under the U.S. Constitution.

    The Kentucky Republican’s interpretation of the Constitution comes after the president tweeted about having the “complete power to pardon” on Saturday, and after The Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump discussed pardons with his advisers.

    The question about whether Mr. Trump has the authority to pardon himself is being debated as the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election heats up, and it has legal scholars debating the issue.

    “I think in all likelihood he does,” Mr. Paul said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think that some of this hasn’t been adjudicated.”

    Mr. Paul said he understands the president is frustrated with the constant allegations of collusion, but he cautioned him from thinking about pardoning family members or himself.

    But Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said the issue would likely end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, and he told ABC’s “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos that no one from the legal team is researching pardoning powers for the president.


    Liked by 1 person

  28. I saw Dunkirk last night — non-stop action, very little dialogue and narrative — interesting but not my type of movie. I’m old fashioned I want an tight narrative structure. Bring earplugs if you don’t like the over stimulated environment of modern theatres.

    Kid Rock…….The newer versions of Ted Nugent.

    Ricky —
    A. The US already has the most wasteful and expensive health care system in the world and it doesn’t cover everyone. Single payer is the best at cost containment and most efficient in terms of bureaucracy — but with entrenched private industry players, the US should look to the Swiss. Single payer has served us well. Meanwhile there our a plethora of different systems worldwide that also work. The Swiss model is where the ACA received most of its ideas — however the ACA is weak on the universal mandate bit and weak on cost containment in comparison to the Swiss. Mandated private and/or public insurance seems to be the direction for the US.

    B. The NYT just ran a story on the lack of implementation. The US needs to keep maintaining their infrastructure. Its actually harder to maintain than to build new and less politically sexy hence the difficulty and the expense.

    C. Tariffs are an economic tool, there are sensible tariffs and there are inefficient tariffs. Sometimes free trade is beneficial — if you are better at something than your trading partner, then you want free trade. NAFTA allowed free trade in corn. This allowed larger US agricultural interests to overwhelm the smaller Mexican farms and sell lots of cheap corn in Mexico. (and drive Mexican farmers north as migrant labourers) The US now supplies around 98% of the corn to Mexico. Now with NAFTA being renegotiated, Mexico is looking at Argentina and Brazil as alternative suppliers. Be careful what you wish for when you break a trade agreement. Sometimes you lose — old outdated steel mills can’t compete with newer high tech steel mills elsewhere.

    D. The US is the only modern industrial power without maternal and paternal paid leave. I simply don’t understand how pro-life groups can’t get behind this — it alleviates the financial loss for new mothers and builds strong family ties. The Cdn system derived from unemployment insurance also encourages people to delay pregnancy until after they are fully employed as your benefits are based on prior work history. This was implement over 20-25 years ago to very little or no effect on unemployment. (When I teach health and the proper stages of life — education, career, marriage, children in that order — I also mention the gov’t reward for delaying pregnancy i.e. maternal and paternal leave. I use this to enogucarge abstinence and birth control. I also took time off when my daughter was born, helped out her mom, etc. Great experience. I recommend it to any father if they can)

    E. Climate change is real. Yes there are green charlatans — what environmentalist sometimes refer to as greenwashing — but climate change is happening and countries need to prepare for it and minimize it.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Michelle, My wife got a kick out of your comment.

    Debra, HRW is in agreement with you. He could become Trump’s economic advisor and work with Schumer in 2019-2020. HRW, You just need to marry Trump’s younger daughter, and then Trump would make you his top advisor. Just stay away from any meetings scheduled by Don, Jr.


  30. HRW,

    A. I agree with you that the Swiss model is probably the best healthcare model for us, given our current monstrosity. It is largely a private system. However, it would take at least 20 years to make the transition. The Swiss system is 30%-40% cheaper than ours. We would have to phase in the changes to led docs, nurses, pharmaceutical salesmen, Medicare recipients and others gradually adjust. Letting states set their own plans is probably the best approach. See D and E below.

    B. I generally trust the state of Texas and our counties to repair and build infrastructure. I trust the US government (particularly one run by Trump and a Democratic Congress) to do nothing.

    C. I would never trust a demagogic imbecile like Trump to distinguish a “sensible” tariff from a bad one. Besides, M. Friedman has taught me there are no good tariffs.

    D. Family leave bills and other similar issues should best be dealt with at the state level.

    E. See D.

    If Massachusetts wants to ban cars and force businesses to give women 2 years paid vacations after their “wives” have given birth, let them do it. Texas will probably make different choices. If people don’t like the decisions of their state legislatures, they are free to move.


  31. I’ll pass on working for Trump — my daughter would never forget me and I would be constantly be taking a shower just to wipe the “whatever” from my mind and body, As for Tiffany — not my type. My girlfriend is my age and my intellectual equal.

    Nothing wrong with doing things at the state level — Canada’s health plans are administered by the provinces. Sometimes its better to work with local interests and needs especially in large countries. Right now, I can see the solid blue states, e.g. California, go their own way on things like health care and parental leave. In many cases corporations prefer the gov’t to take the lead — taking care of employee health care plans just adds more to the corporate bureaucracy.

    Friedman is wrong. He was speaking in terms of economic efficiency not a national economy. Sometimes tariffs protect industries and economies in their infancy. The Asian tigers succeeded because they protected their economies through tariffs and other means.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thanks for the head’s up on earphones, that worked well for Dunkirk. No worries about watching the movie but the violent and vulgar previews were too much for me. I nearly walked out. Instead, I closed my eyes and sat through them.

    I feel more and more old and crotchety every day . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Singapore and Hong Kong are city states and as such their economic needs differ than a complete country (as your link notes an active agricultural sector makes differences) City states thrive on buy and sell — Dubai is moving in that direction. I can’t recall the book nor the author’s name but an Asian economist outlined how South Korea and Asian tigers used protectionism to build up their industrial corporations – Samsung is a good example. I noticed in your link there was no discussion of South Korea or other Asian states instead they used India as a counter example. Btw Mauritius has a fairly successful economy by African standards and thus is also a bad counter example to use.


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