Friday, June 23, 2017

Trump's Big CON: 'Ha, Ha, Ha, I Lied! There Are No Tapes.'

UPDATE II:  For Republi-CON's favorite sycophant media, the truth doesn't matter!

When asked why he said there might be tapes, Trump answered "because then he’ll have to tell what actually took place at the events."

“Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt then said: "It was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings."

"Let’s juxtapose: On one hand, we have a lying president who made 669 false and misleading claims over his first 151 days in office. On the other hand, we have a career law enforcement official who was promoted to FBI director in part because of a famous act of integrity; who had won the respect of the FBI rank and file by the time he was fired by Trump; and who has told a wholly consistent and, thus far, largely unchallenged narrative of his dealings with Trump.

So the dodgiest president ever is keeping honest a man of proven integrity. A reversal this comical is possible only on one television news program."

Read the Washington Post, ‘Fox & Friends’ propagates the most astounding piece of pro-Trump propaganda yet.

In other words, Trump sycophants want you to believe that he lies just to keep everyone else honest.

How admirable of him!!

UPDATE:  For Republi-CONs, the truth doesn't matter!

Read the Washington Post, Gingrich just admitted Trump was being dishonest about White House tapes — because nothing matters, which notes in response to Trump's favorite sycophant:

"Apparently not being a “professional politician” is a license for dishonesty -- because that's what this was. And adding insult to injury, it didn't even work.

This is just the latest in a long line of Trump bluffs. There was the time he was going to force the House to vote on its health-care bill, pass or fail, until he urged that it be delayed in the face of defeat. There was the time during the spending debate when the White House signaled Trump would allow a shutdown if the bill didn't fund his border wall, only to back down just a couple of days later. More examples abound.

But this has been a particularly brazen brand of bluffing from the president of the United States. Trump threatened a former top government official using a falsehood to try to get him to soften his testimony. It's not difficult to attach this to the lengthening list of things suggesting Trump has tampered in the Russia investigation, or even obstructed justice in doing so.

And for a president who has huge trouble with facts, it displays a rather striking disregard for the truth. . .

And the final point here is that Comey essentially called Trump's bluff. In rather blistering testimony that pointed to Trump's potential obstruction of justice two weeks ago, Comey didn't really hold back at all. And at one point, he addressed the threat of tapes directly and suggested they would vindicate him if they did exist.

'I’ve seen the tweet about tapes,' Comey said. 'Lordy, I hope there are tapes.'

So basically Trump appears to have not only done something dishonest that undermines his credibility going forward, but it didn't even work."

Read the Washington Post, Trump says he has no ‘tapes’ of Comey conversations.

Now, is this true?

With Trump you never know. There could be tapes that shiow Comey was telling the truth.

But either way, Trump revels himself to be a liar, and finally acknowledges he is a con man!

Trump's Big CON: 'I'm So Pretty, And I Have/Had Such Big [Fill-in-theBlank]' (AKA Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (CONt., Part 5))

UPDATE II:  "[I]n recent days, Trump has boasted about all the legislation he has signed.

'We passed and signed 38 pieces of legislation, which nobody likes to talk about,' Trump said June 13 before a lunch with lawmakers. 'I think probably seldom has any president and administration done more or had more success so early on, including a record number of resolutions to eliminate job-killing regulations.'

And he tweeted the same message on Friday morning. . .

A White House spokesperson confirmed to NPR that at the time of Trump's tweet, the number was actually 39 — not 38.

Measuring laws passed by counting rather than by significance is pretty meaningless. More on that in a bit. Among modern Oval Office occupants, Presidents Jimmy Carter (52), George H.W. Bush (41) and Bill Clinton (41) had all signed more bills into law than Trump has by this point in their presidencies.

So, what has Trump accomplished with Congress so far? Nothing that political scientists would categorize as major pieces of legislation." 

Read NPR, Despite Claims To Contrary, Trump Has Signed No Major Laws 5 Months In.

UPDATE:  It's all about The Donald, and a few superficial rallies and so-called wins.

Read the Washington Post, Why Trump will never get anything done,  which points out:

"Donald Trump promised to get Congress to repeal Obamacare, enact tax reform, pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, impose tariffs on outsourcers, subsidize child care and fund a border wall with Mexico — all in the first 100 days of his presidency. Not surprisingly, none of those things happened. What is surprising is that little of this agenda has even been submitted by the president to Congress: no tax bill, no infrastructure bill, no anti-outsourcing bill, no child-care bill and no legislation to build the wall. Why?

The explanation goes beyond the usual factors that bedevil any new president — overpromising on the pace of action, underpreparing for the challenges of office, trouble in staffing up. These do play some part in Trump’s achingly slow start. But Trump’s failure to get key agenda items to the starting line reflects more fundamental problems in policymaking — problems that will persist even after this administration is fully staffed and acclimated.

First, policymaking at the White House is hard and tedious work that involves digesting reams of paper, weighing difficult trade-offs and enduring hours of meetings. There is little evidence Trump has any interest in this sort of endeavor. . .

Second, Trump’s career reflects an inconsistency and expediency about ideas that indicate he will never take policymaking seriously. . . He has embraced government-funded universal health care, supported late-term abortions and proposed the largest tax hike in history — and the exact opposite of all of these things, as well — to achieve his political objectives at a given moment. While running for president, Trump said that the minimum wage was 'too high,' that it should not change and that it 'has to go up.' On a single day of the 2016 campaign, he broadcast three stances on his core campaign issue — immigration policy. . . [A]bsent specific direction from the president at each juncture in the process, his team is probably hard-pressed to divine the Trump policy approach to any question, beyond political expediency. . .

Finally, the Trump policy process must surely be gridlocked because — to the extent there is any indication of what Trumpism is as a policy philosophy — it is a jumble of populist slogans and corporatist concessions totally at war with itself. The Trump plan includes a promise to raise taxes on corporations that outsource and a pledge to cut taxes on those same corporations to a record low. Trump has embraced a Democratic plan to restore limits on Wall Street that were removed 20 years ago — while advancing a Republican plan to strip away limits imposed after the 2008 financial crisis. He has called for $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending but proposed a budget without a penny of net new spending or borrowing. He promised voters they would get better health-care coverage, then held a party in the White House Rose Garden for a House bill that would allow insurance companies to slash benefits — a bill that he characterized as “mean” the following month. Every campaign agenda contains some half-zebras, half-elephants — but the Trump platform designed to appeal to disaffected manufacturing workers who resent globalization, and disaffected globalists who resent taxation and regulation, is especially problematic in implementation."

But The Donald sure is pretty!

Trump at his most recent rally:

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any anyone who doesn't worship me now.

I feel charming,
Oh, so charming
It's alarming how charming I feel!
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe how many stupid people are here tonight.

See the pretty President in that mirror there:
Who can that attractive President be?
Such a pretty face,
Such a pretty hands,
Such a pretty smile,
Such a pretty me!

I feel stunning
And entrancing,
Feel like running for President again,
For I'm loved
By a lot of foolish people!

Read the Washington Post:

With a raucous rally in Cedar Rapids, Trump transports himself back to 2016,

Trump simply can’t stop exaggerating his electoral wins, and

Back in campaign mode, Trump hits on immigration and a border wall.

Read also:

Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man, where I first noted that Trump is a psycho-narcissistic con man,

Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (Cont.),

Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (Cont., Part 2),

Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (Cont., Part 3), and

Trump's Big CON: Thank You Dear Leader (AKA Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (Cont., Part 4)).

Trump's Big CON: Don't Ask About the Republi-CON Health Care Plan, Or You'll Be Needing Health Care

UPDATE III:  Read also the Washington Post:

Republicans’ Obamacare repeal would be one of the biggest cuts to the social safety net in history, and

The Republicans’ Obamacare repeal is one big lie.

UPDATE II:  Read the Washington Post, Here comes the Senate GOP’s health bill. It’s a cruel and cynical shell game., which explains that "[i]t's all about cutting health spending on poor people, and cutting taxes on rich people."

UPDATE:  "Here's what we know right now about the health-care plan Senate Republicans are working on: They want to pass it next week.

That's just about it, and all we can say for sure. While there have been some leaks and rumors about what might be in it, that's all they are. There haven't been any hearings or legislative text for anyone to analyze. It's been a backroom process that, whether there's any cigar smoke or not, has been more secretive, according to the Senate's historian emeritus, than any other in the past 100 years.

If you think this is a good way to restructure 18 percent of the American economy, well, then you must be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the exclusive group of Republicans he's letting in on the project — because it's hard to see how anyone else could. There's been no input from anyone who has anything to do with any part of the health-care system. Why, it's almost as if Republicans weren't acting in good faith when they complained that Obamacare, which actually did go through months of hearings and amendments, had, as the Senate's now-No. 2 Republican John Cornyn put it at the time, happened “behind closed doors with secret [health-care] negotiations.”

Despite this lack of transparency, there are still a few things we can guess about. Whatever else it does, it seems like a good bet that the Senate GOP's bill will have the same basic structure as the House GOP's: a trillion-dollar tax cut for wealthy investors that's paid for by slashing Medicaid for the poor  and Obamacare subsidies for the middle class. . .

You just can't cut taxes the way Republicans want and have 'insurance for everybody' like Trump promised. Heck, you can't even have cheaper insurance. On an apples-to-apples basis, the House Republican plan, at least, would probably increase premiums and deductibles, according to the center-left Brookings Institution and the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. To the extent that people would pay less, it would only be because they were getting less and people who needed more had been priced out of the market. None of this is going to change in the Senate version unless the GOP changes its commitment to cutting taxes for the rich.

So I guess that makes it two things we know about the Senate GOP's health-care plan: they want to pass it next week, and it will be something Trump thinks is mean.

Read the Washington Post, The simple reason the Senate has been keeping its health-care plan a secret.

Read also the Washington Post, Republicans who decried Obamacare secrecy now writing legislation in secret, which states:

"Hypocrisy has always been a vital lubricant to making the gears turn in Washington. Give politicians some power and a job to get done, and they quickly forget their righteous critiques of the seamy practices they denounced when the other side was running things.

Rarely, however, has the double standard been so flagrant as now, when Republicans are scrambling to keep their promise to 'repeal and replace Obamacare.'" 

Speaking of bullies:

"The GOP candidate in the Montana special House election was charged with misdemeanor assault late Wednesday night, after allegedly body-slamming Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian. The candidate, Greg Gianforte, grew incensed after being asked an impertinent question about whether he supports the GOP’s brutalization of our health-care system — and rather than answer, he allegedly brutalized the reporter. . .

In a sense, Gianforte was employing a version of the evasion that many Republicans have performed on Obamacare for years. They have consistently said that of course they want to repeal the disastrous Affordable Care Act, but don’t worry, they will replace it with something that offers all the good stuff in it (the protections for consumers and people with preexisting conditions, the expansion of coverage to the poor) without any of the bad (the taxes, the regulations, the mandates). This worked beautifully, as long as Republicans could demand the repeal of Obamacare, secure in the knowledge that they would never have to deal with the actual consequences of it happening, or explain how their alternative would do what they said it would.

The CBO score has upended this tidy little arrangement as brutally as Gianforte allegedly upended Jacobs. Even after the GOP bill was written and passed the House, Republicans continued to employ a variation on that evasion, falsely claiming that no low-income people would be worse off (they would have access to coverage) or that the bill would increase protections for the sick. But the CBO now projects that it would leave 23 million fewer insured after 10 years; that 14 million of those people, the poorer ones, would lose coverage due to a staggering $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid; and that its deregulatory provisions could cause premiums to soar for people with preexisting conditions in large swaths of the country, pricing some out of the market entirely.

Gianforte had suggested in early May that he would declare whether he supports the GOP bill once he hears from the CBO. This month, he was caught on audio praising the bill during a phone call with lobbyists, and his campaign again declined to say publicly whether he backs it (pending the CBO analysis), suggesting it is politically too radioactive even for Montana. Yet now that we do have the CBO score, as best as I can determine, Gianforte still has not answered Jacobs’s question. . .

Can a Republican get elected to the House of Representatives after being charged with assault and despite refusing to say whether he will vote for a bill that would impact many millions of people and one-sixth of the U.S. economy? We’ll soon find out."

Read the Washington Post, Asked about GOP assault on health system, GOP candidate allegedly assaults reporter.

Trump's Big CON: 'I Saved Us From China'

UPDATE:  "Since his inauguration, President Trump has backed off several core campaign positions, including making a stark reversal of his posture toward China. He has explained that rather than pursue a tough-on-China trade policy, he will capitulate on U.S. trade interests to win Beijing’s cooperation on North Korea. . .

In fact, he has made trade threats against U.S. allies such as Canada and South Korea while giving China a pass.

The reason? Trump believes that obliging China on trade will win its cooperation in handling North Korea. He’s gone so far as to promise even more favorable trade terms if China can “solve the North Korea problem.” This approach deeply misreads China’s motivations, and the president seems to have just realized it. He recently tweeted: “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” We will wait to see if this tweet actually signals a shift in U.S. policy, but no doubt it is a confession that the president’s conciliatory approach toward China has failed.

The president should have known from the very beginning."

Read the Washington Post, Chuck Schumer: Trump railed against China while campaigning. Now he’s gone soft.

"President Trump's interview with the Economist contains a few strange claims. . .

[In one,] Trump appeared to claim credit for China reversing its long-held practice of intentionally holding down the value of its currency to make its exports relatively cheap and boost business abroad.

'You know, since I’ve been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped,' Trump said about the Chinese.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who spent decades working on Wall Street and in hedge funds, backed up Trump's specious claim. 'Right, as soon as the president got elected they went the other way,' said Mnuchin.

The claim is patently untrue. For roughly a decade and a half leading up to 2014, China did depreciate its currency, to the detriment of U.S. businesses. But data shows that China abandoned the practice long before Trump came into office."

Read the Washington Post, Trump just took credit for something China did in 2014.

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Show, North Korea Edition

UPDATE:  "President Trump has placed his hopes on Chinese promises to more fully implement U.N. sanctions. But as even he now seems to acknowledge, this hasn’t happened. He tweeted on Tuesday: 'While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi [Jinping] & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!'

Although Trump has criticized President Barack Obama’s 'strategic patience' policy as weak and ineffectual, he has yet to distinguish his North Korea policy from his predecessor’s. Trump’s policy of 'maximum pressure' is anything but, and he continues to pull his punches against North Korean and Chinese violators of U.S. law. The Trump administration has also sent conflicting signals about whether it would negotiate with North Korea or potentially conduct a military attack to prevent the regime from mastering an intercontinental ballistic missile."

Read the Washington Post, We participated in talks with North Korean representatives. This is what we learned.

Read The Atlantic, How to Deal With North Korea, which notes that "[t]here are no good options. But some are worse than others."

"The White House announced Monday that it would host an unusual private briefing on North Korea for the entire Senate, prompting questions from lawmakers about whether the Trump administration intends to use the event as a photo op ahead of its 100-day mark. . .

Congressional staffers suggested that the briefing’s proximity to Trump would make it easy for him to 'drop by' and perhaps take over the briefing.

The image of senators meeting with Trump at the White House on a top national security concern could be touted by the White House as a key moment in the run-up to Trump’s 100th day in office — a milestone that the president has mocked in recent days but that his administration is working aggressively to promote."

Read the Washington Post, Senate staff perplexed by unusual White House private briefing on North Korea.

Read also:

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Show (The Trump Family Show)

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Threatre.

Trump's Big CON: Trump Lied About Stopping Jobs From Moving Overseas

UPDATE:  Read CBNC, Trump's Carrier deal is not living up to the hype — jobs still going to Mexico, which states:

"More than 600 employees at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis are bracing for layoffs beginning next month, despite being told by President Trump that nearly all the jobs at the plant had been saved"

Remember those jobs that Trump said wouldn't go to Mexico.

They are going to Mexico.

"Carrier, the company President Trump pledged to keep on American soil, informed the state of Indiana this week that it will soon begin cutting 632 workers from an Indianapolis factory. The manufacturing jobs will move to Monterrey, Mexico, where the minimum wage is $3.90.

That was never supposed to happen, according to Trump's campaign promises. He told Indiana residents at a rally last year there was a '100 percent chance' he would save the jobs at the heating and air-conditioning manufacturer."

Read the Washington Post, Trump said he would save jobs at Carrier. The layoffs start July 20.

It was all just a con.

Read also Trump's Big CON: He's Really a Crony Capitalist.