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The Trump Administration


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#801 LFC

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 10:27 AM

View PostAnBr, on 21 February 2017 - 08:27 PM, said:


The Trumpbots won't care. We could be in another massive recession, he'd tell them the economy was running like a "fine-tuned machine", and they'd bob their heads up and down on command and believe him.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#802 LFC

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 02:32 PM

Emails forced out of the clutches of the Oklahoma state government clearly show that Trump's pick to destroy the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has been an energy sock puppet for years. He has literally been handed his marching orders talking points by companies and lobbyists who have told him exactly what to say. Bold and underscore mine. Yet another Trumpy who has a proven record of being bought and paid for.

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An Oklahoma judge ordered the release of the emails in response to a lawsuit by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group. Many of the emails are copies of documents previously provided in 2014 to The New York Times, which examined Mr. Pruitt’s interaction with energy industry players that his office also helps regulate.

The companies provided him draft letters to send to federal regulators in an attempt to block federal regulations intended to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas wells, ozone air pollution, and chemicals used in fracking, the email correspondence shows.

They held secret meetings to discuss more comprehensive ways to combat the Obama administration’s environmental agenda, and the companies and organizations they funded repeatedly praised Mr. Pruitt and his staff for the assistance he provided in their campaign.

The correspondence points to the tension emerging as Mr. Pruitt is now charged with regulating many of the same companies with which he coordinated closely in his previous position. As attorney general of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt took part in 14 lawsuits against major E.P.A. environmental rules, often in coordination with energy companies such as Devon Energy, an Oklahoma oil and gas producer, and American Electric Power, an Ohio-based electric utility.

The emails show that his office corresponded with those companies in efforts to weaken federal environmental regulations — the same rules he will now oversee.

“Please find attached a short white paper with some talking points that you might find useful to cut and paste when encouraging States to file comments on the SSM rule,” wrote Roderick Hastie, a lobbyist at Hunton & Williams, a law firm that represents major utilities, including Southern Company, urging Mr. Pruitt’s office to file comments on a proposed E.P.A. rule related to so-called Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Emissions.

The most frequent correspondence was with Devon Energy, which has aggressively challenged rules proposed by the E.P.A. and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which controls drilling on federal lands — widespread in the west. In the 2014 election cycle, Devon was one of the top contributors to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which Mr. Pruitt led for two years during that period.

In a March 2013 letter to Mr. Pruitt’s office, William Whitsitt, then an executive vice president of Devon, referred to a letter his company had drafted for Mr. Pruitt to deliver, on Oklahoma state stationery, to Obama administration officials. Mr. Pruitt, meeting with White House officials, made the case that the rule, which would rein in planet-warming methane emissions, would be harmful to his state’s economy. His argument was taken directly from Mr. Whitsitt’s draft language.

“To follow up on my conversations with Attorney General Pruitt and you, I believe that a meeting — or perhaps more efficient, a conference call — with OIRA (the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Analysis) on the BLM rule should be requested right away,” Mr. Whitsitt wrote. “The attached draft letter (or something like it that Scott is comfortable talking from and sending to the acting director to whom the letter is addressed) could be the basis for the meeting or call.”

The letter referred to the section of the White House Office of Management and Budget that coordinates regulations throughout the government.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#803 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 02:39 PM

View PostLFC, on 22 February 2017 - 02:32 PM, said:

Emails forced out of the clutches of the Oklahoma state government clearly show that Trump's pick to destroy the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has been an energy sock puppet for years. He has literally been handed his marching orders talking points by companies and lobbyists who have told him exactly what to say. Bold and underscore mine. Yet another Trumpy who has a proven record of being bought and paid for.

But HRC didn't meet with a couple of people who donated to her foundation, and did meet with a Nobel laureate, so we really dodged a bullet there, amirite?
Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#804 Art_Vandelay

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 04:56 PM

If you find yourself with an extra 70 minutes in your life, I recommend listening to this Sam Harris / David Frum discussion about the Trump presidency:
#65 -- We're all cucks now

#805 LFC

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 06:55 PM

Interesting perspectives on the insanity of Trump. First up we have staffers treating him like a spoiled child.

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Politico notes:

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The in-person touch is also important to keeping Trump from running too hot. One Trump associate said it’s important to show Trump deference and offer him praise and respect, as that will lead him to more often listen. And If Trump becomes obsessed with a grudge, aides need to try and change the subject, friends say. Leaving him alone for several hours can prove damaging, because he consumes too much television and gripes to people outside the White House.

With Trump’s wife and son living in New York, staffers speculate that the president may have difficulty overcoming his obsession with negative coverage anytime soon.

Next up we have a psychiatrist who tells us that Trump is mentally ill and he's speaking up because his position makes him a unique danger.

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Speaking with host Lawrence O’Donnell, Dr. John Gartner claimed, Trump is a “paranoid, psychopathic, narcissist who is divorced from reality” who will put the nation at risk.

“If we could construct a psychiatric Frankenstein monster, we could not create a leader more dangerously mentally ill than Donald Trump,” Gartner began. “He is a paranoid, psychopathic, narcissist who is divorced from reality and lashes out impulsively at his imagined enemies. And this is someone, as you said, who is handling the nuclear codes.”

It has long been a policy within the psychiatric community to not diagnose individuals without personally interviewing them, but Gartner — who works as a therapist in Baltimore and New York City — warned that, in the case of Trump, that should be set aside because there is ample evidence based on Trump’s public utterances.

“I would argue to my colleagues that those who don’t speak out are being unethical,” he stated. “If we have some knowledge and understanding about the unique danger that Donald Trump presents through our psychiatric training and don’t say something about it, history is not going to judge us kindly.”

Appearing with Gartner, Dr. Lance Dodes also warned against not taking a hard look at Trump’s mental state, which he believes disqualifies him from holding the highest office in the land.

“He lies because of his sociopathic tendencies that Dr. Gartner was talking about,” Dodes suggested. “He lies in the way anybody who scams people does. He’s tried to sell an idea or a product by telling you something that is untrue. There is also the kind of lie he has that in a way is more serious — that he has a loose grip on reality. We can say that because he lies about things that aren’t that important.”

“I think what that indicates is that he can’t stand an aspect of reality that he doesn’t want, so he rejects it,” Dodes continued. “His grasp of reality, his attention to reality is loose. This is an extremely dangerous trait in a president. It actually makes him unqualified.”

Meanwhile we have a level of incompetence in staffing that makes "Heckuva' Job Brownie" look like nothing. Apparently loyalty to Emperor Trump is EVERYTHING.

wly installed cabinet picks are growing increasingly frustrated with the Trump White House over their inability to staff their departments due to interference from the president’s inner circle who want only Trump loyalists.

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According to a report from Politico, the administration has created a new position, described as a “senior White House adviser,” at many of the major departments, whose job is to look at new hires and decide whether they fully back the president. In many cases, those spots are being filled by former campaign staffers with no experience related to the department they are overseeing.

“A lot of these special advisers are overwhelmed, because they have very little relevant issue area expertise and are sometimes way out of their depth,” a source inside the Trump White House explained.

According to former George W. Bush political director Matt Schlapp, who was involved in staffing during the Bush administration, “It often breaks down into trying to appoint your allies into jobs and that can lead to a lot of bad policy formulations.”

In the case of Housing and Urban Development, where former surgeon Dr. Ben Carson recently took over, top aide Shermichael Singleton was recently fired and escorted from the office for remarks critical of Trump despite working for Carson for years.

According to the New York Times, Singleton’s crime was writing, “My party in particular has allowed itself to be taken over by someone who claims to be a Republican but doesn’t represent any of our values, principles or traditions,” about Trump in October of 2016.

We ... are ... SOOOOOO ... f***ed.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#806 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 11:41 AM

Further grist:

https://www.google.c...article/517521/
Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#807 indy

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 12:34 PM

Trump reportedly putting off infrastructure campaign promise until 'next year.'E

ETA: Forgot the link: http://www.businessi...-to-2018-2017-2



#808 JackD

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 01:20 PM

Infrastructure investment in this administration is unlikely because Congressional Republicans will insist on cuts to pay for it rather than voting new money.

#809 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:08 PM

View PostJackD, on 23 February 2017 - 01:20 PM, said:

Infrastructure investment in this administration is unlikely because Congressional Republicans will insist on cuts to pay for it rather than voting new money.

I thought the original plan was to give (massive -- like 80%) tax credits to those who built privately-owned "infrastructure." I'm sure Congress would have been delighted with that, especially since it wasn't restricted to new builds and might have been available for things like hotels. So if it's being put off now, someone appears to be getting nervous about at least that degree of corruption.
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#810 JackD

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:29 PM

I'm not sure new hotels qualify as infrastructure. The original proposal was to address deteriorating roads and bridges and transportation systems. When the Republicans suggested tax credits, the objective shifted since private money won't be attracted to non income producing expenditures. Encouraging private investment in construction projects would provide some employment but would not improve infrastructure.

#811 golden_valley

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 03:14 PM

Trump only knows how roads lead to his golf courses. Beyond that he doesn't know what they are good for.

#812 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 04:07 PM

View PostJackD, on 23 February 2017 - 02:29 PM, said:

I'm not sure new hotels qualify as infrastructure.

We are talking about Trump, so "details" were never part of the proposal but "hotels" were a reasonable suspicion.

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The original proposal was to address deteriorating roads and bridges and transportation systems. When the Republicans suggested tax credits, the objective shifted since private money won't be attracted to non income producing expenditures.

Tax credits -- at 80% -- were part of Trump's proposal (such as it was) during the campaign. As was the intention for the private parties to retain or perhaps acquire ownership in the "infrastructure." Leading to comments about privately-owned revenue-generating sewer systems.

Even during the campaign, the sketchy "plan" was so thick with giveaways that it caught lots of this kind of comment. The "tax credit" aspect was in there from the first because throwing tax credits around doesn't count as "spending" to Republicans and thus doesn't require offsetting spending cuts -- which is the only way that they might be considered remotely stimulative.

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Encouraging private investment in construction projects would provide some employment but would not improve infrastructure.

Since there was never any requirement that there would be a requirement for the projects to be new rather than windfalls for existing projects it's not at all clear that they would be at all stimulative. The "infrastructure" might have improved slightly, but only at the cost of turning existing public infrastructure (think I-40) into private property without the private party putting more than a token amount (20%) into the improvements, while turning the whole thing private. Even for roads, bridges, etc. that would more or less have to be replaced that's a smoking deal but considering that those kinds of projects involve rights of way, site preparation, etc. that are a big part of the cost even in a tear-down-and-replace situation the term "pennies on the dollar" becomes wildly excessive. More like "pennies on the Benjamin" would be closer.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
The purpose of "defense spending" isn't "defense," it's "spending."
Our Party! In her relations with other Americans may she always be in the right; but Our Party, right or wrong!

#813 JackD

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 04:27 PM

For some reason I'm finding it hard to believe even the Republicans would turn many of our federal highways into privately owned toll roads. Even they could anticipate the blowback.

#814 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 05:20 PM

View PostJackD, on 23 February 2017 - 04:27 PM, said:

For some reason I'm finding it hard to believe even the Republicans would turn many of our federal highways into privately owned toll roads. Even they could anticipate the blowback.

And that may be what's happening. Despite the Congressional obstruction, Obama's 2012 public-works plan was quite popular, and something like that would be popular coming from Trump, too. However, the very idea of public goods causes the machers in the PoG to break out in sweating hives because it goes 180 degrees against their entire Rand/Rove plan to do away with anything remotely resembling Hamilton's American roadmap.

If the future of work in the United States really does follow the median projection, with job availability falling below demand permanently, then we have three options:
  • Let people die -- starvation, disease, whatever -- for lack of money
  • Expansion of welfare to encompass a more or less permanent double-digit percentage of the population
  • Create jobs so that people can work at jobs adequate to support a decent life.
The first two promise possibly existential destabilization of the society and economy. The third, done right, might actually improve wide sections of American society[1] in ways we've never seen, but would also require much higher taxes on the prosperous than we've seen since WWII.

Choose wisely.

[1] Think WPA/CCC parks and civic infrastructure, environmental cleanup, record low student/staff ratios, all the education people can take, etc.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
The purpose of "defense spending" isn't "defense," it's "spending."
Our Party! In her relations with other Americans may she always be in the right; but Our Party, right or wrong!

#815 indy

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 06:52 PM

Well clearly a big player in this is wall street. Compare the money they make from selling government bonds to underwriting corporate ones and M&A activity that results from private enterprises that accomplish the same thing. Privatization on this kind of scale is really more of a transfer of wealth from main street to wall street.

#816 Probabilistic

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 10:31 AM

View PostJackD, on 23 February 2017 - 04:27 PM, said:

For some reason I'm finding it hard to believe even the Republicans would turn many of our federal highways into privately owned toll roads. Even they could anticipate the blowback.

So much real estate can be turned into a huge marketing platform. Don't want to pay tolls? Here, watch some ads. Want to pay discounted tolls? You would need to agree to the terms and conditions of use. Tucked away in which would be a clause that allows the unfettered use of your vehicular location and speed data. Much money to be made!

#817 Art_Vandelay

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 02:00 PM

Trump Badly Losing His Fights With Media

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Last week Trump declared that the news media was the 'enemy of the American people' but we find that only 35% of voters believe that, to 53% who say that isn't the case. By a 48/44 spread they say it is actually Trump who is the greater threat to the American people than the media. We asked voters who they thought had more credibility between Trump and each of the outlets he singled out for attack last week, and Trump loses out to every one of them by double digits:
[...]
All 5 of the outlets Trump singled out for attack last week are seen as credible by majorities of the public. Out of the Trump friendly outlets only Fox News comes out seen as more credible than not, but it is still seen as less credible than all the mainstream outlets Trump targeted in his media attack tweet last week. Meanwhile Daily Caller, Info Wars, and Breitbart clearly still just appeal to fringes of the population even with Trump in the White House- even within his base only 6-20% of voters consider each of those sources to be credible.

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Other notes from our newest poll on the Trump Presidency:
-For the first time ever in our polling we now find an outright majority of Americans in favor of the Affordable Care Act- 50% support it to only 38% who are opposed. Only 33% of voters think the best path forward on the ACA is outright repeal, while 61% think it should be kept with whatever needs to be fixed in it being fixed.
-By a 58/29 spread, voters want an independent investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and its ties to Michael Flynn. Russia (12/61 favorability) and Vladimir Putin (8/73 favorability) continue to be extremely unpopular with Americans, and they want the government to get to the bottom of their interference in our affairs.
[...]
-The basic transparency concerns voters have about Donald Trump aren't going anywhere 5 weeks into his tenure as President. 61% of voters think he needs to release his tax returns, to only 33% who don't think it's necessary for him to. In fact by a 57/32 spread, voters would support a law requiring Presidential candidates to release 5 years of their tax returns to even appear on the ballot. Concerns about Trump's business conflicts remain as well- 62% think he needs to fully divest from his business interests, to only 29% who don't think it's necessary for him to.


#818 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 02:19 PM

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By a 48/44 spread they say it is actually Trump who is the greater threat to the American people than the media.

By an amazing coincidence that's almost exactly Hillary Clinton's edge in November.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
The purpose of "defense spending" isn't "defense," it's "spending."
Our Party! In her relations with other Americans may she always be in the right; but Our Party, right or wrong!

#819 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 08:06 PM

El Mango Supremo is all bent out of shape because nobody in the national media made a big deal out of the cash flow into the Treasury briefly exceeding the flow out for his first 30 days by a net $12 billion. We should all be impressed. Of course, the lack of a Treasury Secretary with the power to issue more bonds might have had some part to play in that.

On the other hand, the Obama Administration had (prudently, as you'll see) laid up $382 billion in cash reserves before handing over the keys, too. A month later those cash reserves were down to $228 billion, so the actual net red ink was $155 billion. Almost as much as the $200 billion that Trump shames Obama with, despite the slight difference in the conditions they inherited.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
The purpose of "defense spending" isn't "defense," it's "spending."
Our Party! In her relations with other Americans may she always be in the right; but Our Party, right or wrong!

#820 baw1064

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 08:39 PM

Our favorite orange snowflake is going to skip the White House Correspondents' Dinner. After all, those horrible people might be mean to him.

http://www.reuters.c...s-idUSKBN1640TF
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” --Dr. Seuss





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