Friday, July 20, 2018

This won’t end well

A lately deceased uncle has left Jane 20,000 pounds, while leaving nothing to his nephew and nothing to his two other nieces.

Jane says this is unjust and an arbitrator agrees with her.

She wants to split the inheritance with her three cousins, 5,000 pounds each.

But her reason is that she is committed to never marrying, having abandoned Rochester, and she desperately wants to live happy ever after with her newfound cousins.

But St. John plans to leave the country to be a missionary and the two girls, beautiful, better educated, and more accomplished than Jane, are hardly likely to never marry, themselves.

All the less so if she makes them each rich.

But that is what she is doing, anyway.

Trying to buy herself a cozy little family with which to be happy ever after.

Jane Eyre.

Trump the Usurper

He has legal authority to meddle with tariffs only in case of genuine national security issues, authority allowed him by law as a exception to the constitutional order, an exception itself unconstitutional since it purports to by statue alter the constitutional assignment of powers.

He has no authority to impose or alter tariffs ad lib.

But to usurp this power he has publicly proclaimed that anything to do with the economy is a matter of national security, thus arrogating to himself the powers to regulate trade and impose taxes (tariffs are taxes) the constitution assigns to the Congress.

The Republicans control the Congress and, though they generally are free traders, hate tariffs, and fear trade war, they have so far done nothing to stop their jackass in the White House.

Trump says he's 'ready' to put tariffs on all $505 billion of Chinese goods imported to the US

And every other worker in America will pay more for a car if this happens.

Nobody will have the least reason to give them all a raise - or to give me a raise - to cover the price hike.

Nor will the value of savings rise magically to cover lost buying power.

Trump supporters are stupid, and demagogues at least partially refute the best argument for universal suffrage, that it allows the masses to protect their interests from the predatory plutocracy.

Except the UAW, groups rip Trump's proposed auto tariffs at hearing

President Donald Trump's proposal to place tariffs of 25 percent on imported autos and auto parts received a near-unanimous flogging Thursday as automakers, dealers, suppliers, repair shop owners and foreign allies each stepped up to warn against it, saying it will hurt production and cost jobs.

In fact, through midafternoon of what was scheduled to be an all-day hearing at the Commerce Department, only one organization — the UAW — defended Trump's call for an investigation into whether imports, including those from allies such as Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Japan and South Korea, should face stiff tariffs.

But even in that case, the UAW's Jennifer Kelly, director of the union's research department, cautioned against ultimately applying broad tariffs or using them against key allies such as Canada, which she said could hurt production in the U.S. and cost jobs.

"It's our hope the Trump administration will take targeted measures to protect domestic manufacturing," she said. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

He facilitates globalism even as he continuously undermines it

Trump says defending tiny NATO ally Montenegro could result in World War III

He sounds like Pat Buchanan.

Montenegro, located on the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Europe, joined the NATO alliance during the Trump administration. 

The nation, which borders Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Croatia, is geographically smaller than Connecticut and has a smaller population than Washington, D.C. Russia has condemned its NATO membership.

The most recent addition to the alliance became a topic of discussion Tuesday during a Fox News interview with the president in the wake of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Membership in NATO obligates the members to defend any other member that's attacked," Fox News host Tucker Carlson said to Trump. 

"So let’s say Montenegro, which joined last year, is attacked. Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?"

Trump answered: "I understand what you're saying. I've asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. … They're very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and, congratulations, you're in World War III."

But he carries on like Hillary.

Despite his rhetoric on defense spending, the president signed onto an agreement at the NATO summit that reiterated the mutual defense language included in Article 5 of NATO's founding document.

The agreement the president signed last week notes that any "attack against one Ally will be regarded as an attack against us all."

Article 5 is the bedrock principle of NATO and the reason it is widely considered the most powerful military alliance in the world. 

The last time NATO invoked Article 5 was after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Montenegro's prime minister was asked about Trump's interview Wednesday in parliament.

"He said that the Montenegrin people are brave and that he does not want the U.S. citizens to fight for others and for other NATO member states," Prime Minister Duško Marković said, according to an official translation provided to NBC News. 

"He did not say that only on that occasion, but he also said the same at the NATO summit, you know it because he said it publicly, not in terms of justification of NATO's existence, but of NATO funding."

According to NBC News, citing official figures, Montenegro contributes more troops per capita to the war in Afghanistan than the United States. 

Overall, Montenegro maintains a standing military of less than 2,000.

Montenegro joined NATO last year with the overwhelming consent of the U.S. Senate, which voted 97-2. 

Trump himself signed off on the country's entrance into the alliance.

Really so young?

We are 400 pages into a story of 527 pages and she says she is 19 years old.

Jane Eyre.

Fool me once . . .

Cloris explains to Melite why she has not taken back Philandre.

Melite to Cloris: But he dumped you for me. Who can blame him?

Cloris to Melite: And for that I laugh at him and his pleas to take him back.

Act V, Melite, Pierre Corneille.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

MSNBC says Reuters says he's claiming he misspoke

He said "I see no reason why it would be Russia" but meant to say "I see no reason why it would not be Russia," is their story, now.

Reuters says he says that on the tape, still being edited and yet to be released, of remarks starting at 2 and now (2:43) completed.

Completely incredible, given everything else he said before and after that single sentence.

MSNBC asks which C-word fits.

Trump publicly asks the Russians to hack Hillary and find her emails and make them public, and that very night the 12 indicted Russians attempt to do just that.

Coincidence?

Or collusion, right there in public?

So, how much of this is about Trump getting great real estate deals for golf courses and hotels in Russia?

A guy on MSNBC is saying he thinks Trump and the Russians, and Putin in particular, have extensive and longstanding financial ties that may include collusion in money laundering and other crimes.

That's what they've got on him, he says.

2:50 they finally release the tape.

The usual Trump mix of lies, bromides, and bragging.

"Full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies . . . . I accept our intelligence conclusion that there was Russian meddling in our elections . . . .  no collusion . . . . "

"I said 'would' instead of 'wouldn't', and the sentence should have been 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.'"

So Reuters is right and he's just lying through his teeth, again, as he so often does.

Then goes on to blame Obama for keeping it fairly dark during the campaign.

And says his administration has taken a firm stance and will take strong action to secure the election process.

Obama went to Mitch McConnell and asked him to go public with the administration in making the Russian interference public so it wouldn't look like an effort to help Hillary win, and McConnell refused.

So the Obama administration thought it better not to give the problem much public attention, rather than undermine Hillary by inviting a firestorm of Republican accusations Obama was blatantly trying to undermine the Trump campaign.

Not a word about that from The Duce.

Not a word about McConnell virtually forcing silence on the Obama administration on the topic in order to protect the Trump campaign.

Then Trump turned to bragging about Korean denuclearization and talk about the possibility of reducing the number of nuclear weapons both sides have.

Finished up with a lot of talk about how much faith he has in our intelligence agencies.

He ended saying that he and the GOP leaders are going to have a special closed meeting about more tax cuts and somehow legislating something that will prevent future congresses from "stealing back" the GOP tax cuts.

And that's just campaign bullshit, too.

The moron in the White House

Worse reaction today to Trump's idiocy yesterday in Helsinki than yesterday.

The president's 2 o'clock is not live.

It is being taped right now, and when he's done the tape will be released.

After editing, I'd wager.

They do not want him live in front of the press.

It amazes me that he accepts this level of handling.

Can they get him to spend the rest of his presidency in a closet?

The madness of King George, eh?

No live coverage, ever.

Just edited statements and taped remarks.

Prisoner of the White House.

Pretty thin gruel

Feds Charge Russian Student, Linked To NRA, With Conspiracy

Looks like the only crime here is her failing to register as an agent of a foreign power, and even that would not be easy to make stick.

Mostly innuendo, arm waving, and yelling "Boo!"

And all the same it looks more likely than not that she was indeed an agent of influence.

Funneling money thru the NRA to advance the Trump campaign could involve the NRA and the Russians involved in violation of campaign finance laws.

And maybe members of the Trump campaign.

Maybe.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Quid pro quo

Trump is now repaying Putin for helping him win the presidency

The events of the past few days — culminating in President Trump’s meeting today with Russian President Vladimir Putin — have rendered this interpretation inescapable: 

Trump is currently in the process of repaying Putin for helping to deliver him the presidency.

Whatever comes of this meeting — even if Trump does, in fact, gain some concessions from Putin, and even if Putin does not get what he wants out of Trump — that storyline will remain operative. 

The known facts have now established it beyond any reasonable doubt, and the only alternative interpretations of that now-established basic bargain that make any sense are actually more nefarious than that one.

. . . .

In blaming only previous U.S. leadership and the current Mueller probe for bad relations with Russia — and not Russia’s attack on our democracy, which is particularly galling, now that this attack has been described in great new detail — Trump is not merely spinning in a way that benefits himself. 

He’s also giving a gift to Putin, by signaling that he will continue to do all he can to delegitimize efforts to establish the full truth about Russian interference, which in turn telegraphs that Russia can continue such efforts in the future (which U.S. intelligence officials have warned will happen in the 2018 elections). 

In a sense, by doing this, Trump is colluding with such efforts right now.

Putin eats Trump's lunch in Helsinki

When asked if he would hold Russia accountable for any of its past actions, Trump deflected and deferred. 

President Trump’s unwillingness to stand up to Russia on this issue only serves to weaken the Western alliance and encourage further Russian incursions into the territory of sovereign nations now that Putin knows Trump will give him a pass.

Most importantly, on election meddling, Trump refused to stand with U.S. intelligence and charge Putin with interference, saying he doesn’t “see any reason why it would be” the Russians carrying out the illegal meddling.

For a sitting U.S. president to say publicly that he believes a foreign leader over his own intelligence team is shocking and admonishable. 

At a time when our democracy faces grave threats, it is deeply troubling that the president would side with the very country who attacked us.

Additionally, Trump’s failure to distinguish between campaign collusion and Russia’s blatant attack on our democracy allowed Putin to sow more discord during the press conference.

Mike Pence lies for his boss as numerous leading GOPsters criticize him

Trump and Putin

Mike Pence: Trump "will always put the prosperity and security of America first"

Vice President Pence is speaking at the Commerce Department today and mentioned President Trump's meeting with Putin at the top of his remarks.

"The world saw once again that President Donald Trump stands without apology as leader of the free world," Pence said. 

"Earlier today, President Trump completed what he described as a direct, open, and deeply productive dialogue with President Putin in Helsinki. As the President said, it was a constructive day. But it was only the beginning."

Pence continued: "Disagreements between our countries were discussed at length, and what the world saw, and the American people saw, is that President Donald Trump will always put the prosperity and security of America first."

Since the meeting — in which Trump declined to side with US intelligence on Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election — numerous Republicans and Democrats have criticized his performance.

John McCain, John Cornyn, Trey Gowdy, Bob Corker, Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, and Orrin Hatch, for example.