Thursday, March 2, 2017

Trump's Big CON: I Hate Leaks (AND False News)

"[T]he Trump media strategy is looking more and more like a hall of mirrors, where real leaks provide what the president blasts as 'fake news' — but that same news, vociferously denied, can get a top official fired, as with the former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In this fun house, a president who, during the campaign, proclaimed 'I love WikiLeaks!' because that organization’s leaks were causing political damage to his opponent, now bemoans the dangers of leaks that cause political damage to him. . .

It’s hardly new that American presidents both decry leaks and use them.

But in the extremes of behavior on one side and rhetoric on the other, Trump may be setting a new standard for trying to have it both ways."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s tough talk on leaks is one thing. His actions tell another tale.

He only hates leaks (and news) that doesn't flatter him

Trump's Big CON: Make America Hate Again

UPDATE III:  "There are a few voices of sanity in the administration, people who actually have the experience and knowledge to do their jobs well and aren’t pursuing some maniacal vision of a global clash of civilizations — particularly McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. But they’re likely to be overcome by a trio of forces working against reason, caution and thoughtfulness.

[They are Bannon's apocalyptic world view. . . ]

[T]he Republican Party; not just Republicans on Capitol Hill, but the party more broadly. . . For the past two years, Trump has promoted and then fed off the fears and hatreds of the GOP base in a feedback loop of anger. With his daily diet of Fox News shows, Trump is intensely attuned to what the base is saying and is always eager to give them what they want — which is not even to mention that he is in regular communication with people like lunatic conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. That puts those advocating restraint and appreciating nuance at a disadvantage. . .

The final force working against the sane members of the administration is, of course, the president himself. We know that Trump is impulsive and ill-informed, which dramatically increases the risk of terrible decision-making in a crisis. We also know that his natural inclinations move him in the direction of simplistic thinking, bellicosity and overreaction."

Read the Washington Post, There are a few voices of sanity around Trump. They’re likely to be overwhelmed.

UPDATE II:  "To most Americans, a shooting in Kansas last Wednesday will be remembered as just another incident of gun violence in a country where homicides are tragically commonplace and where far too many disturbed loners have ready access to firearms.

To many Indians, though, the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla was the harshest warning yet about the reality of President Trump’s America.

Kuchibhotla, an engineer at satellite navigation company Garmin, was having an after-work drink with his friend and colleague Alok Madasani at their regular bar in Olathe, a town 20 miles southwest of Kansas City. The duo, both Indian nationals who received master's degrees in the United States, were confronted by 51-year-old Adam Purinton, who hectored them with ethnic slurs.

'He asked us what visa are we currently on and whether we are staying here illegally,' said Madasani to the New York Times. 'We didn’t react. People do stupid things all the time.'

But an enraged Purinton returned with a shotgun and opened fire, killing Kuchibhotla, 32, and injuring Madasani and Ian Grillot, an onlooker who intervened in defense of the Indian men. Eyewitness accounts suggest Purinton yelled at the pair to 'get out of my country.'"

Read the Washington Post, An act of American terror in Trump’s heartland

UPDATE:  "Bannon and Trump are living out a cultural revenge fantasy. Bannon-Trump remain bonded to their base not because of ideology or agenda, but because they desire the downfall of coastal and urban elites (personified by the media), detest the ethnic and racial demographic trends that continue to make the country more diverse and hold fast to various myths and an exaggerated sense of victimhood (e.g. climate change is a hoax, minorities all live in violent and poverty-stricken cities, Christians are 'persecuted'). No wonder the Trump team finds a role model in the anti-Western, authoritarian Russian President Vladimir Putin, who runs a kleptocracy that impoverishes his people, whom he then tries to pacify with grandiose nationalistic ambitions. (They may not have a high-tech industry, but by gosh, the Empire is back!)"

Read the Washington Post, Bannon and Trump are out for revenge.

Trump wants you to hate this 5-year.

Read the story and tell me if you do.

Read the Washington Post, My 7-year-old daughter Henry is transgender. She’d change Trump’s mind.

BTW, it's not just this child Trump wants you to hate.

Trump's Big CON: "Enormous Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Will Boost the Economy"

UPDATE III:  "Trump’s irresponsible, non-reality-based budget likely makes it more difficult to pass a budget — any budget — and increases the chances we will drift along from continuing resolution to continuing resolution. The president apparently wants to force Congress to make all the hard choices, but it doesn’t work that way. Without presidential leadership Congress usually becomes paralyzed. Lawmakers who want to make hard choices get undercut by the White House (Well, President Trump says we don’t need entitlement cuts!) and those who want to grandstand are encouraged to do so.

In sum, Trump never thought he’d be president. Right now he’s not acting like one, and unless he screws up some courage and faces reality, he and Republicans won’t get much of anything done. On second thought, that might be the good news."

Read the Washington Post, Why Trump’s nonsensical budget matters.

UPDATE II:  "The Trump budget — which is so far only the barest outlines of a budget — is the GOP stereotype on steroids. Take from the poor to give to the military. Trump will be defending a budget, as far as I can tell, [that] is unrealistic, cruel and obscene. . .

He seems to be proposing massive cuts in the one area of the budget that can't afford it, which would exact a terrible human cost. That is impractical, immoral -- and typical."

Read the Washington Post, George W. Bush’s speechwriter on Trump budget: ‘Unrealistic, cruel and obscene.’

UPDATE:  Trump's "budget numbers come nowhere close to adding up. I don’t mean there’s some discrepancy at the margins, nor am I being the Washington budget scold who bugs you for not paying for your proposals. I’m saying that his budget won’t work.

The problem is that he can’t cut taxes by trillions, increase defense spending, invest in infrastructure, hold Social Security and Medicare harmless, and balance the budget in 10 years without almost getting rid of the rest of the government. And that’s not going to happen."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s budget plan depends on wholly unrealistic cuts to the rest of government., which includes this graph:

"What if I told you that I could save you thousands and thousands of dollars a year, and you don’t even have to cut back on anything important in your life? What if I promised you that, just by saving a penny a day, your whole life could change for the better? What if I said you could improve your overall finances by working less and spending more?

You’d probably think that sounded too good to be true. You’d probably suspect that I was trying to scam you. You’d be right on both counts.

If early reports are accurate, President Trump’s budget blueprint will be trying to run that same scam on the American people. His budget will pretend that he can achieve huge savings without any pain. . .

Of course, Trump will argue — as good snake-oil salesmen do — that picking your pockets is good for you. You can be sure he will try to sell you on the idea that enormous tax cuts for the wealthy will boost the economy for everyone. Never mind that we’ve tried that before . . .

To be fair to Trump, this is the same scam that Republicans in Congress have been running for six years. Their budgets always contained the same basic tricks and sleights of hand, and they did seem to get away with it.

Read the Washington Post, Trump says his budget will make government ‘lean.’ It’s really a scam.