8 thoughts on “News/Politics 3-26-18

  1. Let’s start with Eeyores and concern trolls…..


    “The eeyores and concern trolls are out in full force after Trump signed the Omnibus crap sandwich. While there was a possible logic to Trump signing the Omnibus bill, on the merits alone it’s hard to defend.

    My anger is most intense against the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, whose job it was to draft the legislation. They surrendered, and worse, colluded.

    Watching Schumer and Pelosi gloat and take victory dances is most unbearable of all. I’m reminded of Psalm 30: “I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.” House and Senate Republican leadership allowed our foes to rejoice over us, and Trump didn’t stop them. And all for no reason since Republicans *control* the House and Senate — it’s absolutely maddening and almost incomprehensible.

    Omnibus has a lot of people spreading gloom for the 2018 elections and the rest of the Trump presidency. Most of the anger and frustration is genuine. But not all of it.

    There’s a lot of concern trolling going on. It’s particularly intense from the sub-species of Republicans who have created a cottage cable TV and Twitter industry of being the Republicans who hates Trump more than even the most-hardened Democrat. These concern trolls claim to want to save the Republican Party and conservatism by making sure Trump’s presidency ends in Democrat victory.

    There’s also plenty of concern trolling from the mainstream media, which is all too happy to exploit the divisions among Republicans the Omnibus bill created.

    This all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy — the more the mistake of the Omnibus brings Trump voters down, the more likely to bring Republicans down in November. Eeyore-ism has a cost.

    I’m happy to be part of an accounting with the Republicans who sold us out. But I’m not going to be a part of throwing the elections over it. I may not be over the Omnibus mistake yet, but I will be soon because the stakes are so high. As frustrating as Republican rule has become, I remember what it’s like to have Democrats in control. And the next time Democrats gain control, it will be far worse.

    In the past two years we’ve seen how unhinged and totalitarian #TheResistance has become, weaponizing large corporations against us to silence our ability to communicate and trying to take away 2nd Amendment rights. There is no part of life that is not political. “


  2. Burying the lead.


    “It’s no secret that the mainstream media loathes President Trump. The coverage of the Trump Administration has broken all records in terms of consistent, vitriolic negativity. (One study found that the coverage on the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts was critical 90 percent of the time.) This leads the media to devote ample column inches and airtime to arguably trivial smears, like the alleged Russian ties of low-level campaign aides and volunteers, the dirty laundry (real and imagined) of the president’s family members, and unverifiable allegations of past affairs with professional strippers.

    Essentially, the media has long since been weaponized in the war on Trump.

    The other side of this sordid coin, however, is the media’s indifference to important, positive stories far more worthy of the public’s attention. In particular, journalists eschew any mention of President Trump’s successes and breakthroughs. The list of these political victories is a long one, although you won’t read about them in the Washington Post or the New York Times.

    Lest we forget, the economy is booming. All indicators, including economic growth rates, unemployment rates, manufacturing growth, and stock market gains, are pointing to a level of dynamism unknown in the Obama years. The relaxation of bureaucratic regulations and the achievement of a historic tax reform package certainly have played a role in this economic renaissance. Whether President Trump deserves the credit for all of this good news is debatable. But the simple fact is, if he were a Democrat, the media would be crediting him much more often than they are.

    Recently, thanks to President Trump’s unapologetically aggressive policy towards North Korea, including harsh rhetoric and biting sanctions, Kim Jong-un expressed a willingness to consider denuclearization, and the U.S. announced an upcoming summit between Kim and President Trump. Had President Obama achieved a diplomatic breakthrough of this magnitude, his (second) Nobel Peace Prize surely would have arrived by priority mail the very next day. Trump’s hard-won progress, though, is ignored and slighted.

    Likewise, the administration’s successes in protecting U.S. technological and industrial preeminence, by preventing the foreign acquisition of critical American technology companies, and by shielding our steel and aluminum industries from unfair overseas competition, is ignored, or worse, undercut with wild speculation about possible retaliation. In both cases, Trump’s actions have clear precedents in the moves of previous administrations, including that of Barack Obama, but the media always frames Trump’s actions as entirely novel and abjectly foolish. The inconvenient truth is that real, tangible American jobs, and American workers, are safeguarded by these actions, but those stories are simply never told.

    In yet another example of the media’s selective coverage, the Trump administration’s unprecedented success in reducing illegal immigration, which every administration since that of President Eisenhower has at least claimed that it wanted to achieve, is completely subsumed by the media’s focus on anecdotal accounts of allegedly virtuous illegal immigrants facing deportation. The media could, of course, tell the story of the crimes committed by the many thousands of violent illegal immigrants who no longer prowl America’s streets, thanks to President Trump. It won’t, naturally. It literally can’t, since any reporter who spoke of those crimes would be besieged with charges of “racism!”

    The list of Trumpian achievements goes on: a stronger military, improved services for veterans and the firing of many incompetent VA employees, ISIS on its last legs, reams of useless regulations obliterated, an increasing realization among our allies that they must solve their own problems and provide and pay for their own defense, dozens of sterling conservatives appointed to our nation’s courts, etc. And the media’s attitude to these triumphs is invariably the same: denial, dismissal, obfuscation.”


  3. And since I brought up trolls……


    “Brennan admitted his charge that the Russians were blackmailing Trump was pure speculation. But that didn’t stop him or anyone else from spreading the smear.

    The question was a reasonable one, but the answer was not. When the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program asked why President Trump had congratulated Russian president Vladimir Putin on being reelected, former CIA director John Brennan pulled no punches. In answering the leading question that implied Trump may be afraid of Putin, Brennan said, “The Russians may have something on him personally.” The Russians, he said, “have had long experience of Mr. Trump, and may have things they could expose.”

    Coming from just another foe of Trump — which Brennan, an Obama loyalist, certainly is — the assertion could be dismissed as just a partisan cheap shot. But coming as it did from a career intelligence officer who served for four years as the head of the American intelligence establishment, this had to be more than a baseless conjecture.

    Except it wasn’t.
    By the end of the day, Brennan admitted his wild charge was not based on any actual information or intelligence revealed to him during the course of his duties but just a willingness to assume the worst about Trump. In a written response to questions from the New York Times, he said, “I do not know if the Russians have something on Donald Trump that they could use as blackmail.”

    In a world in which journalists treated unfounded assumptions as just that, rather than headline news, Brennan’s charges would have been dismissed. But though the Times knew the accusation was baseless by the time it published its article on the subject, the paper buried the lead. The headline on the story was “Ex-Chief of the C.I.A. Suggests Putin May Have Compromising Information on Trump.” Brennan’s walking back of his charge didn’t appear until the eleventh paragraph of the story.

    The point here is not just the decision of the editors of the Times to downplay information that undermined the entire story. Nor is it only that the rest of the mainstream media played it the same way. In particular, the coverage on MSNBC and CNN consisted of highlighting the accusation, treating it as a proven fact, and then following up with panels in which others speculated as to what evidence might substantiate Brennan’s charge, even though he had already admitted he had no such information. This episode encapsulates most of the media’s coverage of the entire Russian-collusion investigation over the last year, in which speculation about Trump’s guilt is always assumed to be true even if proof is never forthcoming.

    The case of the Brennan smear is, however, instructive in that it shows how coverage of Trump and Russia works. When Brennan spoke of the Russians’ having something on Trump, not one member of the panel asked the former Obama staffer whether his opinion was rooted in actual knowledge rather than pure speculation. Nor did many others ask that question over the course of a day in which Brennan’s comment was among the most discussed stories.

    That fits a pattern that applies to every stage of the Russian-collusion investigation.”


  4. The fruit of the poisoned tree is causing the slow motion collapse of Mueller’s Russia-collusion case.



    “Commenting on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russia-Trump campaign collusion, Judicial Watch’s Director of Investigations Chris Farrell said much of the so-called evidence collected by Mueller is tainted and that if Mueller had “any integrity,” he would shut the investigation down.

    Farrell added that the entire case “is collapsing on itself in slow-motion.”


  5. Continuing consequences. These are in addition to the 23 already tossed.


    “President Donald Trump has ordered an expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and closure of a Russian consulate in Seattle, WA, in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

    This includes “12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in New York.”

    From The New York Times:
    The expulsion order, announced by administration officials, also closes the Russian consulate in Seattle. The Russians and their families have seven days to leave the United States, according to officials.

    The expulsions are the toughest action taken against the Kremlin by President Trump, who has been criticized for not being firm enough with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

    In a call with reporters, senior White House officials said that the move was to root out Russians actively engaging in intelligence operations against the country, and to show that the United States would stand with NATO allies. The officials said that the closure of the consulate in Seattle was ordered because of its proximity to a U.S. naval base.”


  6. And despite the “Sky is Falling!!!” assertions of some Chicken Little’s last week, it appears that a trade war ain’t happening, and the falling stock market has recovered already.

    This is what winning looks like.


    “Last week, China threatened a massive trade war after Donald Trump imposed $50 billion in tariffs on their exports. This week, Beijing’s top economic official has begun to do his best Monty Hall impersonation, according to the Wall Street Journal. After a notably mild first response, China has quietly begun to offer better access to its markets to the US:

    China and the U.S. have quietly started negotiating to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets, after a week filled with harsh words from both sides over Washington’s threat to use tariffs to address trade imbalances, people with knowledge of the matter said.

    The talks, which cover wide areas including financial services and manufacturing, are being led by Liu He, China’s economic czar in Beijing, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington.

    In a letter Messrs. Mnuchin and Lighthizer sent to Mr. Liu late last week, the Trump administration set out specific requests that include a reduction of Chinese tariffs on U.S. automobiles, more Chinese purchases of U.S. semiconductors and greater access to China’s financial sector by American companies, the people said. Mr. Mnuchin is weighing a trip to Beijing to pursue the negotiations, one of these people said.

    Rather than go big, the WSJ’s Lingling Wei and Bob Davis point out, China imposed only a nominal set of tariffs after Trump’s announcement. They only impacted $3 billion in imports, less than 10% of the scope of the US tariffs announced by Trump. Those moves signaled an openness to talks, at least in the short run, to resolve any outstanding issues.”


    “Dow rises 500 points as trade tensions ease

    The Dow Jones industrial average traded 500 points higher, with Microsoft as the best-performing stock in the index.

    The move higher comes after the major averages posted their worst week since January 2016 amid fears of a trade war between China and the U.S.

    Earlier, the Financial Times reported China has offered to buy more semiconductors from the U.S. to help cut its trade surplus with the U.S.”

    “Investors “have apparently recognized that a trade war is in no one’s best interests and therefore extremely unlikely,” said Jeremy Klein, chief market strategist at FBN Securities, in a note. “Specifically, the President merely wants to fulfill a campaign promise while China will only enact token countermeasures to appease its citizens.”

    Markets overseas also jumped on Monday. In Asia, some indexes rose after news surfaced that the U.S. had agreed to excuse South Korea from steel levies. Meantime in Europe, stocks were slightly higher as investors tried to shake off worries surrounding a potential trade war.”


  7. Aj @10:25: The closure of the Seattle consulate is a major hit to the Russians since it is one of the top three intel-gathering centers for Russian spies in the US.


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