Category Archive 'Donald Trump'
15 Apr 2018

The Mueller Witch Project

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click on image for larger version.

10 Apr 2018

They’ve Got a Warrant

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28 Mar 2018

Trump: Photographed With Prostitutes!

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27 Mar 2018

Interpreting the Bolton Appointment

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John Bolton’s entry in the 1970 Yale Old Campus (the kind of entering freshmen yearbook that inspired Facebook). “CC” means he was in (the recently renamed) Calhoun College.

Charles Hugh Smith offers some over-the-top, and consequently amusing, speculations on the meaning of Bolton’s National Security Advisor appointment.

This wing of the Deep State, unquestionably in charge until the election of Donald Trump, finds Trump, well, interesting. Trump can congratulate Vladdy Putin on his shoo-in re-election one day and eject a bunch of Russian diplomats the next.

This sort of non-linear, non-ideologically pure “policy” (or lack thereof) discombobulates the Deep State, which is accustomed to presidents rubber-stamping their agenda and supporting their narrative.

They’re having a tough time controlling Trump, as it’s difficult to read how best to play him: is Trump a master of the Crazy Ivan or is he just winging it? Assuming the latter leaves those acting on that premise vulnerable to a Crazy Ivan once Trump has extracted whatever value he sought from the person or policy.

So how do we decrypt the appointment of Bolton? Here are two possibilities:

1. Trump appointed bete noire Bolton to do the dirty work of cleaning house and ridding the National Security Council and staff of any loyalists to previous presidents or cliques. This Bolton seems prepared to do with both alacrity and relish. This appointment also throws a bone to those demanding a harsher, more interventionist foreign policy.

Once Bolton has cleaned house and disrupted or fired the status quo holdovers from the Obama administration, he’ll be fired like everyone else. Crazy Ivan!

2. The neo-liberal /neo-conservative /neo-colonial wing of the Deep State has given up trying to evict Trump from the White House or manage him. Both of these strategies carry high risks and the assessment has likely been made that both have not just failed, they’re increasingly counter-productive, eroding the legitimacy of those pushing them.

So perhaps the dominant wing of the Deep State is finally willing to cut a deal with Trump: Trump appoints Bolton, whom the Deep State views as the adult supervising the playground, and in return, the Mueller investigation goes away and the Clintons will finally lose the protection of the security agencies. (They’ve become enormous liabilities anyway, and there’s no benefit to the high cost of continuing to protecting them.)

RTWT

25 Mar 2018

John’s Leftie Yale Classmates are Grinding Their Teeth

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Mark Steyn likes Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor.

I’ve given up trying to discern ideological themes in Trump’s firings and hirings: as far as I can tell, it’s mostly about people he likes to hang out with. In the case of John Bolton, I first met the new National Security Advisor a decade and a half or so back, in a roomful of European prime ministers and foreign ministers. He delivered a line that stunned the joint:

International law does not trump the US Constitution.

I was standing next to the Finnish Prime Minister, Paavo Lipponen, who had a genuinely puzzled looked on his face and eventually inquired of me: “He is making a joke, no?”

No.

RTWT

24 Mar 2018

Trump Signed the Omnibus Spending Bill

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The talk is that Trump signed it because he believed that funding a military build is, at this point in time, a completely over-arching priority. That does not, of course, excuse Republicans who run conservative and then vote liberal, or the total and complete absence of GOP Party discipline.

Politico explains just how disgraceful the bill was.

The omnibus—Capitol Hill jargon for a single spending bill that funds most government functions—does not kill any of the programs or agencies Trump’s budget proposed to kill; it triples funding for TIGER, nearly doubles CDBG, and boosts ARPA-E’s budget by 16 percent. Trump wanted to slash the Energy Department’s renewables budget 65 percent; instead, Congress boosted it 14 percent. Trump proposed to keep nonmilitary spending $54 billion below the congressional budget cap; the omnibus spends right up to the cap, a $63 billion increase from last year.

This is why the conservative National Review denounced the omnibus as “the sort of legislation that would have been right at home in the Obama administration,” while Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer gloated in a statement that its “job-creating, life-saving investments stand in sharp contrast to the Trump budget.” It basically extends the fiscal status quo that has prevailed since the start of Obama’s second term—plus a sizable chunk of new deficit spending—even though Republicans now control the legislative and executive branches.

“Throughout the Obama presidency, the Republican Party at least gave lip service to the need to restore fiscal sanity in Washington,” says Michael Needham, head of the conservative policy group Heritage Action. “It is now clear just how many in the GOP are willing to engage in profligate spending when they control the levels of power.”

Republicans are pleased that the omnibus hikes defense spending 10 percent, even more than Trump requested, including a 2.6 percent military pay raise Trump has already bragged about on Twitter. The White House also got $1.6 billion for border security, although the bill specifies it cannot be spent on the concrete wall the president wants. There’s a 6 percent cut in foreign aid and other State Department programs, less than the 25 percent cut in the Trump budget written by Office of Management and Budget chief Mick Mulvaney but still a significant rollback. And the omnibus did not include a specific line item for the Gateway rail tunnel project in New York City that Trump had called a deal-breaker, although Democrats are confident that Gateway will still get plenty of cash from the bill. …

Trump has periodically threatened to shut down the government if Democrats wouldn’t meet his demands, but Republican leaders were clearly desperate for the Democratic votes they needed to keep the government open. The omnibus doesn’t even cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, a GOP priority that inspired a government shutdown under Obama.

Pelosi and Schumer’s gloating aside, Democrats did not get everything they wanted. The omnibus did not include the new protections they are seeking for undocumented Dreamers who came to America as kids, or new funding they want for stabilizing the Obamacare exchanges. But considering the balance of power in Congress, they got quite a lot they wanted that Trump didn’t want—including full funding for the 2020 census, money for states to bolster their election security and the FBI to fight Russian cyberattacks, and language blocking a proposed Trump administration rule that would have allowed employers to pocket tips earned by their workers. They insisted on expanding a tax credit for low-income housing development in exchange for allowing Republicans to fix a technical glitch in the recent tax bill. And they won a modest strengthening of gun background checks and a rollback of a ban on gun violence research by the CDC without having to accept a provision requiring states to honor concealed carry permits; conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus claimed GOP leaders had promised that provision would be part of the deal.

Presidential budgets are always dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, but the omnibus feels more like a product of Obama-era divided government than Trump-era Republican monopoly. …

he bill was crafted behind closed doors by congressional leaders—most back-benchers had less than a day to read its 2,232 pages—so it’s hard to say how much of it reflects genuine Republican enthusiasm for big government and how much reflects a political decision to cave to Democrats to avoid a shutdown on Trump’s watch. For years, limited-government conservatives have been frustrated by the compromises GOP leaders have made to avoid budgetary train wrecks, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows complained that “this omnibus doesn’t just forget the promises we made to voters—it flatly rejects them.”

RTWT

12 Mar 2018

SNL Mocks Robert Mueller

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09 Mar 2018

Tariffs in Perspective

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1910 Republican campaign poster.

Charles G. Mills does a good, and succinct, job of explaining tariffs, historically and politically.

President Trump has proposed significant tariffs on the importation of steel and aluminum. Should we support or oppose these measures? The answer is not simple; it lies in the details of the tariff law, rather than in a single principle about all tariffs. On balance, a significant tariff on steel and aluminum is worthy of support, despite its harmful effects.

RTWT

07 Mar 2018

Bring Back the Gold Standard!

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1927 $2.50 gold piece.

When my Lithuanian great grandparents arrived in the United States of the late 19th Century, we had beautiful gold money with images of Indians and Big Game Animals, there were no gun laws and there were no drug laws, and there was no Income Tax. No wonder they came here!

Ralph Benko, in Forbes, argues that if Trump really means to make America great again, restoring a gold standard would be a great first step.

In 1971 President Nixon, under the influence of his Svengali-like Treasury Secretary John Connally, “suspend[ed] temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold.” That closure proved durable instead of temporary. The dollar became, and remains, the world’s global currency.

What had been an “exorbitant privilege” devolved into an exorbitant liability. As my former professional colleague John D. Mueller, of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, formerly Rep. Jack Kemp’s chief economist, writing in the Wall Street Journal in Trump’s Real Trade Problem Is Money recently and astutely observed:

    a monetary system based on a reserve currency is unsustainable, since foreign official dollar reserves (for example) are acquired and must be repaid in goods. In other words, the increase in official dollar reserves equals the net exports of the rest of the world, which means it must also equal U.S. international payments deficits—an unsustainable situation.

In other words, if President Trump wishes to address America’s merchandise trade deficit (balanced to perfection, of course, by a capital accounts surplus) he will find that allowing the dollar to be used as the global currency is the real snake in the economic woodpile. The dollar’s burden as the international reserve currency, not currency manipulation by our trading partners or bad treaties, is the true villain in the ongoing melodrama of crummy job creation.

Mueller’s Wall Street Journal column enumerates the three options open to President Trump:

    First, muddle along under the current “dollar standard,” a position supported by resigned foreigners and some nostalgic Americans—among them Bryan Riley and William Wilson at the Heritage Foundation, and James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Second, turn the International Monetary Fund into a world central bank issuing paper (e.g., special drawing rights) reserves—as proposed in 1943 by Keynes, since the 1960s by Robert A. Mundell, and in 2009 by Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China. Drawbacks: This kind of standard is highly political and the allocation of special drawing rights essentially arbitrary, since the IMF produces no goods.

    Third, adopt a modernized international gold standard, as proposed in the 1960s by Rueff and in 1984 by his protégé Lewis E. Lehrman …and then-Rep. Jack Kemp.

To “muddle along” would, of course, be entirely antithetical to Trump’s promise to Make America Great Again. It would destroy his crucial commitment to get the economy growing at 3%+ — vastly faster than it has for the past 17 years — which also happens to be the recipe for robust job creation and upward income mobility for workers. It also is the essential ingredient for balancing the federal budget while rebuilding our infrastructure and military.

To turn the IMF into a world central bank would, of course, be anathema to Trump’s economic nationalism. To subordinate the dollar to the IMF’s SDR would be equivalent to lowering Old Glory and replacing the American flag with the flag of the United Nations on every flagpole in America. Unthinkable under a Trump administration.

That leaves the third option, to “adopt a modernized international gold standard, as proposed in the 1960s by Rueff and in 1984 by his protégé Lewis E. Lehrman … and then-Rep. Jack Kemp” (whose eponymous foundation I advise). To this one should add, as Forbes.com contributor Nathan Lewis has shrewdly observed, the removal of tax and regulatory barriers to the use of gold as currency.

RTWT

President McKinley would be proud.

23 Feb 2018

Trump Against Fake News

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HT: Dave Roth.

05 Feb 2018

Another Good Summary

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From Gary Gindler, at American Thinker:

[W]e know that the chain of events associated with the case of Trump’s “criminal collusion with Putin” looks like this:

Trump’s political opponents during the primaries hired the firm Fusion GPS, which specializes in opposition research, to dig up some dirt on Trump

After Trump won the primaries, Fusion GPS lost the customer, but just for a short while

The new customers of the dirt on Trump become the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC

The new customers requested dirt on Trump from Fusion GPS, not only in the American domain but also in the international arena

To add international dimension, Fusion GPS hired a subcontractor – former resident of British intelligence in Moscow Christopher Steele, known for his open anti-Trump beliefs

Christopher Steele hired some former agents of the Russian intelligence services (against whom he once fought during the Cold War)

The agents of Russian intelligence services concoct a dirty file on Trump (linguistic analysis confirmed that this dossier was written in “Russian English” with minimal editing by native English speakers)

It is still unclear as to what extent these Russian agents were the “former” agents of the Russian intelligence services (that is, to what extent this dossier is fiction, and to what extent is it the deliberate work of the KGB/FSB disinformation effort)

Trump’s dossier, compiled by the Russians, gets to the FBI through the Assistant Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who received it from his wife. At that time, she was working for Fusion GPS and was a part of the anti-Trump research team

The FBI used this dossier as one of the key arguments in the secret intelligence court FISC to obtain a warrant to wiretap the Trump campaign

In other words, the Obama administration used a dossier concocted by Russian agents to legitimize its surveillance of their political opposition.

According to the memo, FBI leaders knew precisely where the dossier came from, but in the application to the FISC, they presented the dossier as a proven fact, and not as opposition research. It was not just a mere bureaucratic mistake — the FBI used the dossier in such a way not once, but at least four times.

As a result, the Trump campaign was under surveillance by the FBI before the elections, after the elections, and even after the inauguration of President Trump.

Read more.

28 Jan 2018

Name Correction

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26 Jan 2018

To The Guggenheim Museum: Who Actually Bought a Gold-Plated Toilet? You Did, Not Trump

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We live in an appalling age. When the White House requested a (conventionally granted) loan of a painting by Van Gogh from New York’s Guggenheim Museum, the kind of request that constitutes an honor and an opportunity for institutional service to the nation, the museum’s chief curator proved incapable of rising above the most vicious kind of political partisanship and responded with a crude gesture of vulgarity designed to express the highest degree of contempt while supposedly flourishing that establishmentarian curator’s skill at drawing upon the canon of the Arts.

The Washington Post gloatingly reported:

The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: The museum could not accommodate a request to borrow a painting by Vincent van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters.

Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the 1888 van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles, France, with his dog.

The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.

For a year, the Guggenheim had exhibited “America” — the creation of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan — in a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to use.

But the exhibit was over and the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Spector wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post.

The artist “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan,” wrote Spector, who has been critical of Trump. “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”

RTWT


Vincent van Gogh, Landscape with Snow, 1888, Guggenheim Museum.

Proving that the big brains at the Guggenheim, who so look down on Trump, are actually the kind of idiots willing to accept a gold-plated toilet, created as a slur on the same free enterprise system that funded the Guggenheim’s creation, as “art” worthy of presentation by a major museum. I’ve seen Donald Trump’s interior design choices, and I could picture Donald Trump having gold-plated thunderboxes in his penthouse, but he’d be sensible enough to use them practically. Trump wouldn’t take a gold-plated crapper as some kind of artistic statement unlike the dodos sitting atop our arts establishment.

Can anyone picture the head of a prominent museum, just a few decades ago, indulging in such a spiteful, vulgar, and scatological expression of partisanship? People simply did not behave like that. They had enough good sense to recognize that no political party possessed a monopoly of good intentions or virtue and that one’s preferred side inevitably sometimes lost. If someone in a responsible position did not happen to like the current occupant of the White House, he simply did his job and kept his feelings and political opinions to himself. Today’s establishment is made up of self-righteous simpletons, eaten up with self-entitlement, lacking common sense, decency, and good manners.

25 Jan 2018

Advice for Trump: Call in a Ratcatcher

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Billy, the celebrated Rat Killing Dog, London, circa 1823

Peter Ferrara, at the America Spectator, says don’t fire Robert Mueller. Instead, fire and replace his boss with just the right personality.

Now there is one master stroke left for Trump to play to drive the stake through the heart of this attempted fascist coup against America, led today by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the only barely still functioning corporal in the fascist army.

Mueller’s boss, who originally recommended him for appointment, is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who seems to be at the center of the fascist coup today. Trump’s essential master stroke would be to fire Rosenstein and appoint Rudy Giuliani as Deputy Attorney General in his place.

Giuliani would then be Mueller’s boss, with first-hand knowledge of whatever Mueller is doing, right or wrong. Giuliani would effectively be a Super Special Counsel, but operating within the Justice Department, in accordance with America’s Constitutional framework.

Giuliani knows what laws apply to professionals at the FBI and at Justice. After many years as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which covers Manhattan, Wall Street, and New York City, he knows how to proceed with preservation and collection of evidence, and prosecution of crimes. Expect an immediate exodus of all the Fascist coup co-conspirators, like cockroaches all scurrying about when the light is turned on in the dark basement downstairs.

Giuliani could also fire and replace Obama/Hillary co-conspirator Christopher Wray, current head of the FBI. Bring in former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom to replace him, a true patriot committed to restoring the integrity of the FBI.

Giuliani would know how to cooperate professionally with Trump’s appointed AG Jeff Sessions. He would actually be a great aid to AG Sessions, helping him to keep on top of the entire Department. Giuliani would know what materials can and should be released to the public, and how to do it legally.

History would record this one move as the beginning of the end of the fascist coup against America, and of the Trump resistance. The only question left would be what did Obama know, and when did he know it. Giuliani has the background to know how to uncover that as well.

RTWT

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