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objectivist1
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« Reply #1400 on: February 15, 2017, 01:41:43 PM »

This is entirely unprecedented - but then - so is Barack Obama and his efforts as U.S. President to dismantle the nation as founded:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265808/obamas-shadow-presidency-matthew-vadum

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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1401 on: February 15, 2017, 02:53:33 PM »

This article is about something very important well worth following, but this is the wrong thread for it-- please post in Armed and Unarmed Resistance and/or Politics.  TY
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1402 on: February 16, 2017, 01:02:31 AM »

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/319800-gop-senators-unnerved-by-trump-russia-relationship
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ccp
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« Reply #1403 on: February 16, 2017, 07:55:48 AM »

gop-senators-unnerved-by-trump-russia-relationship

All the usual cast of GOP useful to the Left Senators that are the GOP go to pols for Leftist who do interviews:

Graham McCain sell out Corker and to some extent McConnell.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1404 on: February 17, 2017, 12:05:51 AM »

https://www.jiujitsutimes.com/defend-donald-trumps-arm-drag-handshake/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1405 on: February 17, 2017, 02:26:20 PM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xecEV4dSAXE&sns=fb
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1406 on: February 23, 2017, 07:42:34 AM »

 By Daniel Henninger
Feb. 22, 2017 7:19 p.m. ET
345 COMMENTS

Donald Trump is right that the media is making a mountain out of every Trump molehill. Despite the “resistance,” it also remains true that most Americans want the Trump presidency to succeed.

These Trump Hopefuls, whose number includes people who didn’t vote for him, want the presidency to succeed because they understand that if it fails, the social and economic condition of their country will be in a bad place.

Despite this reservoir of goodwill for the Trump presidency, the degree of anxiety about it is palpable. You have to be living in Netflixed isolation not to have had conversations with people wondering what the hell is going on at this White House.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

Beyond the Beltway bubble, I think most people look upon the pitched battle between Mr. Trump and the news media as they would a playground fight between sixth-graders.

“He hit me first.”

“You hit first.”

“You’re a liar.”

“No, you’re the liar.”

Millions of Americans simply gape.

We could spend the next several years arguing whether Mr. Trump or the dishonest mainstream media started this, but a more productive question is, why is the mayhem happening?

It is happening mainly because the presidential campaign didn’t end last November. The political culture of the 2017 campaign endures inside the White House and among the press and the Trump opposition.

Presidential campaigns are an essential feature of the American political system—long, raucous, fiercely contested. But that glorious tumult is supposed to give way to the more substantial, harder politics of the presidency.

The permanent campaign has been with us a long time, and Barack Obama was the first president who didn’t disband his campaign operation after winning. But we’re in a different dimension today.

Propelled by new media, campaign politics has become a national addiction. It’s similar to the way people drive cars into trees because they can’t stop texting. No one will let go—not the tweeting president, not the surly press and not the hooked, agog public.

Still, there’s a political casualty waiting to happen inside the great American thrill ride—the presidency. Trump the president is looking like he’s trapped inside Trump the campaigner.

To be sure, the Trump presidential machine is executing the president’s orders and making fine appointments. The president’s downward ratchet on the vast Obama regulatory state is the main reason for the upward-bound stock market.

But Mr. Trump himself can revert in an instant to campaign mode—Hillary’s failures, voter fraud and past media transgressions. Or a Florida presidential rally that looks just like a Florida campaign rally. Bill Clinton once said that to win an election you do what you’ve gotta do. But are the tactics of a campaign transferrable to the daily life of a presidency?

Some will say the political world underestimated Donald Trump from day one. That’s true—but as a candidate. The presidency, by contrast, is one part of a large and complicated political system, complicated because the Founders wanted the process to be difficult and to require getting buy-in from unavoidably divided factions.

Mr. Trump and his White House are justified in wondering how it is their politics get hammered, while the factions of the alt-left are generally misrepresented as a benevolent children’s crusade.

A further Trump argument would be that they owe their distraught opposition nothing. That’s mostly true. It isn’t Mr. Trump’s responsibility to provide kumbaya solace to a political left whose street bullies turned Chuck Schumer into a progressive factotum.

The argument here isn’t that Donald Trump as president has to step up to “heal” a divided nation, not least because our age of limitless sentimentality has turned the phrase “heal the nation” into soap bubbles. But it’s obvious that the hyper-hot emotions in the country’s political life now are unsettling many normal people who don’t wish Mr. Trump ill.

There are risks, to the Trump presidency, its goals and the system itself, if the volatile personality-driven politics of the Trump campaign remain the norm for the 45th presidency.

Yes, we know it’s a populist movement. Populism, though, is what gets you elected. The president who tries to govern with populism inside the U.S.’s system of distributed, three-branch authority will fail.

There are going to be tough votes soon in Congress on the president’s tax bill, ObamaCare reform, a Dodd-Frank revision, the budget, infrastructure and the rest. That agenda, intended to raise the U.S. from its doldrums, is the reason so many different kinds of people want this presidency to succeed.

The Trump margin for delivering victory to these hopeful Americans is narrower than it should be. The president’s goals could falter or fail if enough Republicans running for election in 2020 decide their own needs require putting distance between themselves and the permanent volcano of the Trump White House. There will be no moral victories for a presidency that cannot produce 50 votes in the Senate.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1407 on: February 23, 2017, 12:33:53 PM »

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/02/breaking-report-white-house-deputy-chief-staff-nevertrumper-kate-walsh-source-leaks/
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ccp
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« Reply #1408 on: February 23, 2017, 06:10:05 PM »

This is unprecedented in my memory having people in the same part trying to bring down the President.

What would Joe Stalin do?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1409 on: February 23, 2017, 07:55:02 PM »

Note the subject line "Caveat lector" i.e.  "Let the reader beware"!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1410 on: February 24, 2017, 09:19:28 PM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445185/trump-less-authoritarian-obama
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1411 on: February 25, 2017, 04:12:06 PM »

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/02/24/trump-isnt-sounding-like-a-russian-mole/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1412 on: March 01, 2017, 12:50:12 PM »


Chris Wallace and Van Jones both (!) said "Last night he became The President".

The opposition party counterattacks:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/02/28/fact-checking-president-trumps-address-to-congress/?utm_term=.91d93d4680af&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1413 on: March 02, 2017, 09:53:05 AM »

Bigly embarrassing if true!!!!

http://theseattletribune.com/trumps-unsecured-android-device-believed-to-be-source-of-recent-white-house-leaks/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1414 on: March 12, 2017, 03:06:39 PM »

House Committee has asked him to put up or shut up on the wiretapping accusation.

We live in interesting times.
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G M
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« Reply #1415 on: March 12, 2017, 03:08:04 PM »

House Committee has asked him to put up or shut up on the wiretapping accusation.

We live in interesting times.


He needs to.

We do.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1416 on: March 19, 2017, 10:30:22 AM »

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/324598-trump-brings-the-boardroom-to-washington
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1417 on: March 22, 2017, 11:38:59 AM »


March 21, 2017 7:28 p.m. ET
2126 COMMENTS

If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.

That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

The wiretap tweet is also costing Mr. Trump politically as he hands his opponents a sword. Mr. Trump has a legitimate question about why the U.S. was listening to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and who leaked news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador. But that question never gets a hearing because the near-daily repudiation of his false tweet is a bigger media story.

FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia.

Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.

All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

Appeared in the Mar. 22, 2017, print edition.
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ccp
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« Reply #1418 on: March 22, 2017, 08:50:15 PM »

Too late now but Trump should have fired Comey:

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/FBI-James-Comey-investigation-White-House/2017/03/21/id/780018/

Comey's not referring Clinton to the DOJ was grounds enough to be fired but it is all just for the history books now.
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G M
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« Reply #1419 on: March 22, 2017, 09:21:28 PM »


March 21, 2017 7:28 p.m. ET
2126 COMMENTS

If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.

That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

The wiretap tweet is also costing Mr. Trump politically as he hands his opponents a sword. Mr. Trump has a legitimate question about why the U.S. was listening to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and who leaked news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador. But that question never gets a hearing because the near-daily repudiation of his false tweet is a bigger media story.

FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia.

Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.

All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

Appeared in the Mar. 22, 2017, print edition.

The WSJ morphed so slowly into the Huffington Post, I almost didn't notice.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1420 on: March 27, 2017, 03:34:34 PM »

The Outsider Enters Boldly and Trips Over His Own Shoelaces

“There’s a new sheriff in town” is a pretty popular power fantasy. We find ourselves stuck in a circumstance where everyone seems to be running amok, pursuing their own selfish or petty agenda, acting in complete disregard of the needs of others or the community as a whole. Our patience is exhausted, we’re fed up with it, and we make a bold, impossible to ignore, vaguely threatening gesture that demonstrates our supreme power. ENOUGH! Everyone freezes. We declare that order has returned. We begin dictating orders to others, to put everyone in their place. Cowed and intimidated, everyone dutifully returns to their proper place as part of a well-organized machine.

Saturday, Mike Allen shared a rather revealing anecdote about the way the Trump administration is approaching the task of getting legislation passed:
When the balky hardliners of the House Freedom Caucus visited the White House earlier this week, this was Steve Bannon's opening line, according to people in the conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building:

“Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”

Bannon's point was: This is the Republican platform. You're the conservative wing of the Republican Party. But people in the room were put off by the dictatorial mindset.

One of the members replied: ”You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn't listen to him, either.”

“You have no choice…” Except, the members did. Perhaps at Breitbart.com, Bannon got used to negotiating with people he could fire. The president and his team can’t make a member vote for a bill, particularly one the member thinks is terrible or severely disappointing.

I wrote Friday that one glaring, unavoidable problem for the White House is that the president was trying persuade reluctant members of the House without really understanding why they were objecting. Our old friend Tim Alberta offered a vivid anecdote:

Thursday afternoon, members of the House Freedom Caucus were peppering the president with wonkish concerns about the American Health Care Act—the language that would leave Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” in place, the community rating provision that limited what insurers could charge certain patients, and whether the next two steps of Speaker Paul Ryan’s master plan were even feasible—when Trump decided to cut them off.

“Forget about the little s***,” Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room. “Let's focus on the big picture here.”

The group of roughly 30 House conservatives, gathered around a mammoth, oval-shaped conference table in the Cabinet Room of the White House, exchanged disapproving looks. Trump wanted to emphasize the political ramifications of the bill's defeat; specifically, he said, it would derail his first-term agenda and imperil his prospects for reelection in 2020. The lawmakers nodded and said they understood. And yet they were disturbed by his dismissiveness. For many of the members, the “little s***” meant the policy details that could make or break their support for the bill—and have far-reaching implications for their constituents and the country.

Maybe to Trump these details about the bill were “the little s***.” But to the members in front of him, this was the make-or-break criteria of what makes a good reform bill. You would think the author of The Art of the Deal would have understood the importance of knowing the other side’s priorities. I seem to recall impassioned, insistent assurances during the 2016 Republican presidential primary that Trump was the ultimate dealmaker. Now we’re assured by Trump fan Bill Mitchell, “Trump is prescient and a brilliant strategist; therefore, the death of today's bill was part of his long term strategy.”

We’ve seen the growing enthusiasm for “outsiders” in American politics in recent years. A pratfall like this isn’t the only potential outcome with an outsider, but it’s a strong possibility. They either think they can completely rewrite how the system works, haven’t bothered to study how the system works, or don’t care how the system works. But they don’t actually change how the system works.

Like most of my colleagues, I found AHCA pretty “meh” at best. (With all the bashing going on right now, it’s worth remembering that the bill did offer flexibility to the states on Medicaid, did reduce the deficit, would reduce premiums in the long term if not the short term, and constituted the biggest effort at entitlement reform in a generation.) But because of the impossibility of getting 60 votes in the Senate, it didn’t include tort reform, insurance companies selling across state lines, and a couple of other big elements of the conservative health care reform agenda. It’s quite possible that had this bill been enacted, most Americans would feel like nothing had changed or improved by November 2018.

This was always a thorny, multifaceted problem. But the president and congressional Republicans were quite clear in their promises in 2016. They told us they could handle this, and they made fixing it sound easy. At what point is it fair to conclude their self-assurance was evidence they had no idea what they were talking about?

Could You Guys Stop Finger-Pointing for a Minute?

Historians and students of the presidency love Abraham Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals” in his cabinet. They describe it as messy and complicated but effective and a way to guarantee a diverse range of viewpoints and options are considered. But I’ve always wondered whether the “team of rivals” approach worked because it’s a good system… or whether it worked because Abraham Lincoln was using it.

Because if you have a “team of rivals” in your White House, everybody spends a lot of time jockeying for position and addressing “palace intrigue” instead of, you know, their jobs.

What would be the worst possible way to respond to a defeat? Oh, probably recriminations and finger-pointing, instead of refocusing on common goals and getting everyone on the same page, rowing in the same direction.

With President Donald Trump’s sweeping agenda hitting the rocks as he edges toward the 100-day mark, top aides, political allies and donors are embroiled in a furious round of finger-pointing over who is at fault.

The recriminations extend far beyond the implosion of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal on Friday. Senior aides are lashing each other over their inability to stem a never-ending tide of negative stories about the president. There is second-guessing of the Republican National Committee’s efforts to mobilize Trump’s electoral coalition on behalf of his legislative priorities. At the Environmental Protection Agency, a top official quit recently amid accusations the department is failing to advance the president’s campaign promises. And one of Trump's most generous benefactors, Rebekah Mercer, has expressed frustration over the direction of the administration.

It’s not even April yet.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1421 on: March 27, 2017, 03:37:05 PM »

second post

Amid Spending Questions, White House Defends Trump’s Golf-Resort Trips
WSJ
By Rebecca Ballhaus
Mar 20, 2017 3:31 pm ET
383 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump on Thursday released a budget blueprint calling for sharp cuts to spending on foreign aid, the arts, environmental protection and other areas to pay for a bigger military and more secure border. The next day, he left Washington for his fifth weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his luxurious private golf resort in Palm Beach, Fla.—a trip estimated to cost around $3 million.

The juxtaposition prompted a slew of calculations as to which agencies the president proposed to cut could be saved by reducing the number of weekend trips to Florida for Mr. Trump and his staff. The Washington Post, for example, pointed out that two trips to Mar-a-Lago would pay for a year of funding for the Interagency Council on Homelessness, which Mr. Trump’s budget proposed to eliminate.

Asked at Monday’s White House briefing whether the president would consider reducing his weekend trips “given his feelings about the priorities for Americans’ tax dollars,” press secretary Sean Spicer replied, “That is a vast reach to suggest.” “Presidents always travel,” Mr. Spicer continued. “The president will continue to go and travel around the country and have meetings to solve the nation’s problems.”

Former President Barack Obama also drew criticism for going on golf trips during his presidency — including from Mr. Trump himself. But Mr. Obama didn’t make his first trip to the golf course until four months into his administration. Mr. Trump first traveled to Mar-a-Lago on his second weekend as president.

Pressed on the fact that no previous president had traveled as frequently and as early in his administration—and to a private club—as Mr. Trump, Mr. Spicer pointed out that former President George W. Bush had traveled to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, but did not respond to the rest of the question. “The president’s very clear that he works seven days a week,” Mr. Spicer said. “This is where he goes to see his family. This is part of being president.”

Mr. Trump’s trips to Florida have raised eyebrows not just for their hefty price tag — which, according to a Government Accountability Office report on an Obama trip to West Palm Beach from 2013, is somewhere around $3 million — but for the spotlight they place on a resort he owns. His frequent trips there – sometimes accompanied by foreign leaders – and meetings with the club’s exclusive roster of members have driven up business for the resort, which recently doubled its initiation fees to $200,000.

Last weekend, Mr. Trump held what the White House called “part of a cabinet meeting” in the dining room of his Virginia-based golf resort. And in April, the president is tentatively set to meet at Mar-a-Lago with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who would become the second foreign leader to travel to the club. Meanwhile, White House officials have sought to play down the amount of golf Mr. Trump plays at the resort each weekend.

The White House on Sunday said Mr. Trump might hit a few golf balls, but declined to confirm whether he actually did so. Chris Ruddy, a longtime friend of the president who is also a member of Mar-a-Lago, subsequently tweeted a photo of Mr. Trump wearing a golf glove.

On Monday, Mr. Spicer defended the president’s trips to the golf course. “How you use the game of golf is something that he’s talked about,” he said. Mr. Spicer also challenged the notion that Mr. Trump’s frequenting of golf courses means he’s actually playing golf.

“Just because he heads there doesn’t mean that that’s what’s happening,” he said.
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ccp
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« Reply #1422 on: March 28, 2017, 10:52:54 AM »

Tom Delay on Trump "working with Dems":

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/Democrats-left-agenda-Tom-DeLay/2017/03/27/id/781027/
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 06:36:53 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DDF
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« Reply #1423 on: March 29, 2017, 08:51:12 AM »

Just over two months into President Trump's presidency, the Leftist media bashing President Trump constantly, Paul Ryan and his failings, Russia, golf, Britain and spying; and I still have absolutely no "buyer's remorse," when I consider what either of the socialist alternatives would have been.
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Do not fear going anywhere, nor doing anything. You will die where you are supposed to.
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1424 on: March 29, 2017, 10:03:17 AM »

AMEN!!!
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« Reply #1425 on: March 31, 2017, 01:31:33 PM »

 By Peggy Noonan
March 30, 2017 7:21 p.m. ET
791 COMMENTS

Near the end of the campaign I wrote a column called “Imagine a Sane Donald Trump,” lamenting that I believed he was crazy, and too bad. Too bad because his broad policy assertions, or impulses, suggested he understood that 2008 and the years just after (the crash and the weak recovery) had changed everything in America, and that the country was going to choose, in coming decades, one of two paths—a moderate populism or socialism—and that the former was vastly to be preferred, for reasons of the nation’s health. A gifted politician could make his party the leader toward that path, which includes being supportive and encouraging of business but willing to harness government to alleviate the distress of the abandoned working class and the anxious middle class; strong on defense but neither aggressive nor dreamy in world affairs; realistic and nonradical on social issues while unmistakably committed to protecting the freedoms of the greatest cohering force in America, its churches; and aware that our nation’s immigration reality was a scandal created by both parties, and must be redressed.

You could discern, listening to his interviews and speeches, that this was more or less where Donald Trump stood. If a politician governed along those lines, he could help bring forward a politics more pertinent to the times, end brain-dead fixations, force both parties to question their ways of operating, and possibly push our national politics in a more productive direction. All this in my view would be good.

Undergirding my thinking is the sense that a big bad day is coming—that we have too many enemies, and some of them have the talent to hurt us, and one or more inevitably will. Whatever helps hold us together now will help hold us together then, when we’re under severe pressure.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

Behind that thought is the observation that our country is stressed to the point of fracture culturally, economically, politically, spiritually. We find it hard to hold together on a peaceful day, never mind a violent one. And so right now we must institute as much good feeling and cooperation in Washington as we can. The nation longs for examples of constructiveness and capability. We’ve got to keep the long view in mind.

    High Anxiety Over Health-Care Reform

    ObamaCare proved to be a catastrophic victory. The Republican plan had the makings of another one.

    Click to Read Story

    Reach Across the Aisle, Mr. President

    For health-care reform to succeed, it requires buy-in and compromise from both parties.

    Click to Read Story

    Advertisement

    House Republicans Repeat an Obama Error

    Like the Democrats in 2009, the majority party’s priorities aren’t responsive to the moment.

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    A Surprising Show of Confidence

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The priority is stabilizing and strengthening what we have, and encouraging wherever possible an atmosphere of peacefulness and respect.

That’s where I am, or rather what I think is politically desirable.

Looking at the administration 70 days in, things do not, in these areas, look promising. There’s too much gravitational pull to the president’s accumulated mistakes.

His stupid tweets have now resulted in the Russia probe. That will help opioid addicts in Ohio. This Thursday he may have launched a Republican civil war: The Freedom Caucus had better “get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & the Dems, in 2018!” That will help promote harmony. His staff has failed to absorb the obvious fact that Mr. Trump was so outsized, colorful, and freakish a character that their primary job, and an easy one it was, was to be the opposite—sober, low-key, reassuring. Instead they seemed to compete with him for outlandishness.

Whatever your feelings and views, whatever was said behind closed doors, in the photo-op the president of the United States must shake the German chancellor’s hand. Not only because you are a gentleman, not only because it is your job to represent America with grace, but because a baseline requirement of your office is to show public respect for a great nation with which we have a history, part of that history constituting a jewel in the crown of 20th-century world diplomacy.

It amazes me that in his dealings with the health-care bill Mr. Trump revealed that he has no deep knowledge of who his base is, who his people are. I’ve never seen that in politics. But Mr. Trump’s supporters didn’t like the bill. If they had wanted a Republican president who deals only with the right, to produce a rightist bill, they would have chosen Ted Cruz. Instead they chose someone outside conservatism who backed big-ticket spending on infrastructure and opposed cutting entitlements, which suggested he’d be working with Democrats, too.

A president dealing with a national issue that arouses anxieties has to take time and speak repeatedly on the plan and the goal, with the kind of specificity that encourages confidence. “You win the argument, then you win legislatively,” Newt Gingrich said in an interview this week, paraphrasing Margaret Thatcher.

And a president must always appear to be leading, not meekly tagging leaders within the Congress.

Seventy days is only 70 days. Mr. Trump’s supporters will give him time. During the campaign I spoke often to a friend in north Georgia, a Trump supporter who was a Democrat and voted for Barack Obama. She is unshaken. Mr. Trump is “making the kind of mistakes a new president makes,” she says now. “He’s having growing pains. Because he’s not a politician.”

He’s not. But he is the holder of the highest political office in the land, which requires some political discipline.

Whenever I used to have disagreements with passionate pro-Trump people, I’d hear their arguments, weigh their logic and grievances. I realized after a while that in every conversation we always brought different experiences to the table. I had worked in a White House. I had personally observed its deeper realities and requirements. Their sense of how a White House works came from news shows and reading, and also from TV shows such as “House of Cards” and “Scandal.” Those are dark, cynical shows that more or less suggest anyone can be president. I don’t mean that in the nice way. Those programs don’t convey how a White House is an organism demanding of true depth, of serious people, real professionals. A president has to be a serious person too, and not only an amusing or stimulating talker, or the object of a dream.

Robert Sherwood, the playwright who was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speechwriter throughout the war, saw him as subtle, high-minded, and one of the great “showmen” of presidential history. Sherwood’s biographer, Harriet Hyman Alonso, quotes Sherwood on how sometimes FDR spoke to him “as if he were an actor who had been reading my lines.” After a speech in Philadelphia, the president asked Sherwood if he thought the timing in a section of the speech was good. Sherwood called it perfect. Roosevelt then gave him “one of his sly looks and asked, ‘Do you think [Alfred] Lunt could have done it any better?’ ” Lunt was the great stage actor of the day.

That is the public part of the presidency, which we see so much now that we think it’s all there is. But there is a private presidency. It is in private that Mr. Trump does his tweeting. It is in private, in the office, that a crisis comes over the transom, and is announced by the national security adviser. Maybe the mad boy-king of North Korea will decide it’s a good day to see if his missiles can hit Los Angeles. Maybe a sleeper cell of terrorists will decide it’s a good day to show it’s woke.

Crisis reveals the character, the essential nature of a White House. Seventy days in, that is my worry.
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« Reply #1426 on: March 31, 2017, 07:06:23 PM »


By Louise Radnofsky and
Rebecca Ballhaus
March 31, 2017 6:00 p.m. ET
105 COMMENTS

WASHINGTON—Ten weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump hasn’t had an easy week yet.

Mr. Trump has hit regular high points—the nomination of a Supreme Court justice, a smooth speech to a joint session of Congress, an active deal-making role in health-care negotiations.

But they have each been punctured, within hours or days, by low points—courts blocking his travel restrictions, an early-morning tweet about wiretapping, and the collapse of those talks to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The result, as captured in Gallup polling, is a constant cycle of slips and rebounds for Mr. Trump. The collapse of the health-care bill last week helped pushed down his approval rating to 35% between Sunday and Tuesday, the all-time worst ratings for any president in his first year, Gallup found.

“Unusually low, unusually early,” the organization concluded in its assessment of the data. “Already a trendsetter by earning the lowest initial job approval rating of any president and falling below 40% approval in record time, Trump’s recent 35% and 36% approval ratings are the lowest of any president in his first year.”

On Thursday, the White House began making adjustments aimed at improving its performance as it turns toward a measure in Congress to keep the government from shutting down and an effort to overhaul the tax code.

The president is likely to bank a win next week with the Senate moving toward approval of his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, though Democrats are threatening a vigorous debate and perhaps a filibuster.

Mr. Trump is in need of a clean victory to shore up his nascent presidency, political strategists said.

“Momentum matters right now, particularly when you have as aggressive an agenda as this White House has,” said Kevin Madden, a longtime Republican strategist who advised 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney. “The core reason that the president got elected was his ability to speak to the frustrations that people have about Washington not getting things done. A lot of those controversies distract attention from that.”

The White House “hasn’t made the gains that they’ve promised, and Congress is motivated by gains,” Mr. Madden said. “Without those, it’s increasingly difficult to create incentives for Congress to provide the support they need to get things done.”

Mr. Trump, for his part, sets little store in polls or unfavorable headlines, as he has made clear in tweet after tweet.

“If the people of our great country could only see how viciously and inaccurately my administration is covered by certain media!” Mr. Trump wrote this week.

Instead, he and spokesman Sean Spicer talk up positive economic indicators, as Mr. Spicer did again Friday. He cited a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers, whose members visited the White House on Friday, in which 93% of respondents said they now had a positive outlook.

“The president was glad to see this report add to the list of measurements reflecting the incredible optimism and positivity that his pro-growth policies have created,” he said.

Other presidents have seen approval ratings significantly worse, but they have all come at later points in their presidencies, Gallup found.

President Bill Clinton hit a low in his first summer in office of 37%, but it marked a bottoming out from which he climbed back to win re-election. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush each reached the 20s in the latter years in their first, and only, terms of office, and didn’t recover.
Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court comes to a Senate vote next week as two Democratic senators have stepped forward as the first to throw support behind the nominee. WSJ's Byron Tau and Tanya Rivero discuss whether more Democrats are likely to follow suit. Photo: AP

The selection of Judge Gorsuch, who now serves on the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, is a rare case in which the president has managed to clearly fulfill a campaign pledge, as was his promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and expedite approval of long-stalled pipeline projects.

More often, though, the White House has either seen its initiatives blocked or scaled back from the fiery rhetoric of the presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump is expected to seek minor changes in the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, rather than a broad rewrite. He has yet to find a winning strategy for constructing a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border—paid for by Mexico. His travel restrictions on six majority-Muslim nations, intended to diminish terrorism threats, are mired in the courts. His description of the revised ban as a “watered-down version of the first one” already has complicated the government’s arguments in support of it.

On Thursday, a frustrated Mr. Trump lashed out at lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus who withheld support for the White House-backed health-care bill after deeming it insufficiently conservative. He said he would “fight them” in the 2018 elections, if he had to. The rift, some conservatives have said, is mutual.

“I think the man who came to drain the swamp might have become the creature from the black lagoon,” said Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and a strong backer of Mr. Trump. “He’s got the wrong target. The grass roots thank God for the Freedom Caucus. Trump is separating himself from his own base.”

Since entering the White House, Mr. Trump has not finished a single week without controversy, and all of it has unfolded against a backdrop of probes by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and on Capitol Hill into his team’s contacts with Russia.

This week, the White House announced the departure of Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh to join America First Policies, an outside group that aims to bolster Mr. Trump’s agenda, and which could take a more muscular approach to fighting the president’s former conservative allies.

Trump advisers are interviewing Rick Dearborn, currently a deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs, to succeed Ms. Walsh, according to two people familiar with the conversations. A senior administration official said the White House hopes to decide on her successor by this weekend.

Mr. Dearborn and Ms. Walsh have feuded from the first day of Mr. Trump’s administration, according to a person familiar with their conversations.

Ms. Walsh, in charge of assigning West Wing office space, gave Mr. Dearborn an office he found inferior to the space allotted to his assistant. Mr. Dearborn and the assistant switched offices, which angered Ms. Walsh. Aides loyal to Mr. Dearborn cheered Ms. Walsh’s White House departure, while other insiders—including top Trump adviser Steve Bannon—heaped praise on her.

She is the second high-level Trump adviser to resign. The first was National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, who was forced out after it became apparent that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Mr. Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials are now a major part of a much broader, criminal investigation of some of Mr. Trump’s top campaign advisers that has begun to hang over his new presidency.

“Having the Russia [inquiries] taking up time and energy, and add in the congressional oversight role—and it all presents a very real challenge,” Mr. Madden said.
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« Reply #1427 on: March 31, 2017, 07:09:34 PM »

second post

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/31/sources-white-house-leaks-center-discussions-katie-walsh-replacement/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=daily&utm_content=links&utm_campaign=20170331
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« Reply #1428 on: April 01, 2017, 02:28:15 PM »

"Trump is a man who is constitutionally incapable of taking responsibility for his own defects and errors, and as such requires an enemy. The one he has chosen isn’t Schumer — it is congressional conservatives, the Republican true-believers who make up the grandiosely named “Freedom Caucus.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/446333/trump-democrats-working-together
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« Reply #1429 on: April 01, 2017, 07:03:10 PM »

 shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked
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« Reply #1430 on: April 13, 2017, 06:43:04 AM »

The Trump Presidency Begins
A presidency that was almost too much fun has taken a clear turn to the serious.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi in Palm Beach, Fla., April 7.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi in Palm Beach, Fla., April 7. Photo: Associated Press
By Daniel Henninger
Updated April 13, 2017 7:19 a.m. ET
320 COMMENTS

Instead of “The Trump Presidency Begins,” an alternative headline for this column might have been “Trump’s Presidency Begins.” Each describes a different reality.

Until recently, “Trump’s presidency” has been about one thing—Donald Trump. It’s been Trump 24/7. Mr. Trump owned the presidency the way Mr. Trump owns a tower on Fifth Avenue. For better and for worse, Trump’s presidency was all about him.

In the past few weeks—the Gorsuch appointment, the Syrian strike, the meeting with China’s Xi Jinping —we are finally seeing the beginning of the real Trump presidency.
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Like all the others dating back to George Washington, the presidency is not an object captured by one person; it is an office held in trust for the people of the United States.

The Trump-centric phenomenon of these early days is the product of our celebrity-centric times, not least the presidency. He drove it with social media, and the media torrents washed back over him.

There are some realities, though, that the media torrents haven’t washed away yet. America’s institutions, its politics and the distant world are still too large for anyone to hold and command alone. That is the lesson of recent days.

Neil Gorsuch was nominated by Mr. Trump to fill the ninth seat on the Supreme Court. What followed was a mighty political struggle. The opposition to Judge Gorsuch, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, revealed that the legal philosophies of progressives and conservatives have arrived at incompatibility.

Confirming Judge Gorsuch required the Trump presidency to recede so its political allies could rise and execute. The legislative branch eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, thereby preserving the president’s prerogatives.

While the Gorsuch drama played out on the Senate floor, Mr. Trump met at Mar-a-Lago with China’s Xi Jinping, who traveled nearly 8,000 miles to meet the American president. Possibly, the Chinese thought that Muhammad going to the mountain would flatter the flatterable Mr. Trump. Instead, the strikingly low-key meeting acknowledged the high stakes for the two nations and the world.

On Wednesday, Mr. Xi called the president to discuss North Korea again. That no doubt had something to do with Mr. Trump’s soufflé surprise over dinner with Mr. Xi—a missile strike against an Assad airfield and chemical-weapons depot in Syria.

Unlike the assassination of Osama bin Laden, when the mission details leaked out overnight, there was no self-congratulatory media dump out of the White House of this presumably ultra-media-conscious president. Just a blow to the Middle East status quo.

For our purposes, the important thing isn’t the strike but what came before. It requires little imagination to guess the import of the conversations about operational and political details between the president and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis —former head of the U.S.’s Middle Eastern Central Command—and his national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster. As Dorothy said to Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Days before the Syrian strike, Mr. Trump with little fanfare met two Middle Eastern leaders crucial to U.S. strategy for the region—President Sisi of Egypt and Jordan’s King Abdullah. In March, he hosted a working lunch for Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Salman, creator of the 41-state Arab coalition to fight Islamic State. A successful presidential foreign policy needs allies. Watch this space.

There has been the difficult matter of the Trump-Putin mutual admiration society. Over the past week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Russia may have been “complicit” in the Syrian gas attack. Mr. Tillerson flew to Moscow for a tough chat Wednesday with Mr. Putin. Any Putin investment in the U.S. election is deep in the red right now.

One reads that the Trump White House’s communication shop is up late imagining bullet points for the president’s “first 100 days.” One reads that Mr. Trump is arbitrating disputes between his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his Cromwellian counselor Steve Bannon over the presidency’s proper direction.

This isn’t complicated. There was only one Trump promise—Make America Great Again. If you type that phrase into Google Translate, this is what should appear: Get the American economic engine retuned or pack it in. Every other pet peeve or project is secondary.

There are two levers for achieving this goal: tax policy and deregulation. To get there, the Trump presidency just inserted two key players.

Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, an expert on what makes a tax code productive, becomes chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Neomi Rao, director of George Mason University’s gloriously named Center for the Study of the Administrative State, became the Trump White House’s czarina of regulation. A Chicago Law grad.

We have arrived in the foothills of the Trump presidency, and warnings no doubt abound. Not least is the Republican obsession with the sport of cliff-diving over dry land. What’s important is that a presidency that was almost too much fun has taken a turn for the serious.

Write henninger@wsj.com.
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« Reply #1431 on: April 17, 2017, 07:16:57 AM »


https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/04/15/president-trump-realigning-geo-political-alliances-and-few-paying-attention/
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« Reply #1432 on: April 26, 2017, 12:39:47 AM »



As U.S. President Donald Trump approaches his 100-day benchmark on Saturday, a media deluge has already begun bemoaning the demise of the liberal order, celebrating waves of deregulation or simply blaming the president's rocky start on the "disaster" he inherited on taking office. Rather than wade into that predictable morass, we prefer to focus instead on what the next 100 days hold in store.

A Slippery Slope in Trade

Trump is often described as a "transactional" president who sees the world as one big negotiating table where he can leverage his business experience to exact better terms and conditions for American workers and corporations. Trump will therefore try to keep his core agenda focused on what he regards as his sweet spot: U.S. economy and trade. But even though the domestic economy may be the thing closest to the president's comfort zone, it's also where he comes up against a wall of institutional barriers. As a result, his much-touted tax overhaul attempting a steep reduction in the corporate tax rate will remain gridlocked in congressional battles over health care and the budget.

The new U.S. administration will have a bit more room to maneuver on trade issues. Its simplistic fixation on countries with which the United States has a large deficit will become more nuanced with time. The United States cannot simply force other countries to buy more of its goods in volumes that would make an appreciable difference in the trade deficit. And in some cases, America's existing factory capacity is neither ready nor able to meet a sizable increase in demand from abroad. Instead, for select industries, Washington will try to boost U.S. purchases of American goods and the enforcement of trade measures to restrict certain imports from abroad.

The steel sector is a logical place for the White House to focus its attention. After all, it's an industry that appeals to Trump's support base in the Rust Belt (though price hikes risk alienating big U.S. steel consumers); the United States has the domestic capacity to meet most of its steel demand (save for specific, often military-related applications); and there are several World Trade Organization (WTO) provisions that the United States can use to tighten restrictions on imports (well before Trump's election, Washington had placed more than 150 countervailing and anti-dumping duties on steel imports).

A number of these measures will inevitably invite challenges in the WTO, but a much bigger and more consequential question will still hang over U.S. trade partners. The Trump administration has outlined a trade policy to Congress that "will aggressively defend American sovereignty over matters of trade policy." Specifically, the White House has said the United States would not subject itself to WTO provisions that are "inconsistent" with U.S. law. This raises the question of just how far a protectionist White House will try to stretch trade loopholes — and what it will risk in the process. Trump has ordered the Department of Commerce to open an investigation into whether importing steel harms the national security interests of the United States by sidelining domestic producers. Based on precedent and the current definition of national security in the context of trade, it will be difficult for the United States to argue that it does. But the national security clause is an extremely powerful tool in the hands of the executive. If the Trump administration expands that definition to include issues such as employment and domestic stability, the White House would have a much broader set of tools with which to target other industries under duress from foreign competition.

Trump is thus at the top of a slippery slope. If the United States aggressively plays the national security card in trade, its trade partners will be compelled to do the same. The tit-for-tat would severely undermine the foundation of the international trade order that the United States has underpinned as part of its global hegemonic responsibilities for the past 70 years.

Trump is thus at the top of a slippery slope. If the United States aggressively plays the national security card in trade, its trade partners will be compelled to do the same. The tit-for-tat would severely undermine the foundation of the international trade order that the United States has underpinned as part of its global hegemonic responsibilities for the past 70 years.

Still, this isn't cause for alarmist predictions of the end of free trade as we know it. Decades of interwoven supply chains wrapped around the globe will not be undone by a single president. Moreover, there's no guarantee that the White House will follow this course to its extreme end. The Trump administration is not prepared to absorb the political cost of greatly compromising its trade links abroad, and the White House still needs a credible WTO to enforce many of the trade measures it is already trying to invoke. In fact, the mere threat of upending international trade governance may simply be a useful negotiating tactic as the White House tries to improve its bilateral trade terms with countries such as Mexico and China.

A Familiar Conundrum in North Korea

Trump has broadcast to the world that the trade pressure he has applied on China will achieve things "never seen before" in managing the North Korean crisis. But intertwining trade with foreign policy gets messy very quickly. The president has framed his recent reversal on labeling China a currency manipulator as a negotiating tactic intended to push China to do more in pressuring North Korea. But there was little weight behind the threat of using that label in the first place. China has been defending, not devaluing, its currency for the past three years; in fact, it hopes to avoid a steep fall in the value of the yuan, which would exacerbate capital flight and hamper Beijing's efforts to boost domestic consumption and reduce its heavy reliance on exports. China is concerned, of course, about the more selective trade measures the White House is pursuing to target Chinese imports, and it will float promises of granting U.S. investors greater market access in certain sectors to keep those frictions manageable.

Does this U.S.-China trade dynamic amount to substantive change in how North Korea is handled? Not exactly. While consolidating power at home ahead of this year's Communist Party Congress and fending off trade attacks from Washington, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been using a careful blend of economic incentives and military moves with its neighbors to carve out and seal a sphere of influence in its near abroad, squeezing out the United States. North Korea has interfered with those plans. As Pyongyang inches closer to fielding a long-range weaponized nuclear device, the United States is drawn deeper into the Asia-Pacific, encroaching on what China regards as its regional turf.

So, even as "strategic impatience" begins to dominate Washington's rhetoric about North Korea, Trump will likely meet the fate of his predecessors.

China is far more concerned about having an unstable North Korea on its doorstep than a nuclear one. And though China does have substantial economic leverage over North Korea, there are clear limits to how far Beijing will go in applying sanctions. The Chinese do not want to face a refugee crisis on their border and are not interested in triggering the government's collapse in Pyongyang if it also means accelerating a scenario in which China must contend with a reunified Korea tucked under a U.S. security umbrella. Military planners in the region and the United States know that there are simply no good military options for managing North Korea's actions when Seoul is in range of a massive artillery barrage and both Japan and China are in range of North Korea's missile arsenal. Real potential exists for a military crisis on the Korean Peninsula to escalate into a regional conflict. Kim Jong Un's reclusive government, meanwhile, has done an exceptional job of keeping China (and the rest of the world) at arm's length to muddle intelligence estimates and leave adversaries with little choice but to factor the worst-case scenario — regional war — into the cost calculations of their military plans.

So, even as "strategic impatience" begins to dominate Washington's rhetoric about North Korea, Trump will likely meet the fate of his predecessors. After reaching the limits of exerting economic pressure through China, his administration will reserve the high-risk military option of conducting a pre-emptive attack against North Korea for the event that Washington detects Pyongyang's preparations for a suicidal strike against the United States, Japan or South Korea. Pyongyang, for its part, will proceed apace with the development of its nuclear deterrent. The United States will try to mitigate this threat in other ways by focusing on covert means of disrupting the program, stepping up missile defense in the region, and reinforcing the defenses of Japan and South Korea. A heavier U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific will worsen tension between China, on one hand, and the United States and its security partners on the other. And with the reality of a nuclear North Korea setting in, Washington's security commitments in the region will be tested. If Japan and South Korea have reason to seriously question their protection under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, they could well take steps to develop their own nuclear weapons programs, just as Trump himself bluntly advocated during his presidential campaign.

An Enduring Standoff in Eurasia

The United States' relationship with Russia will remain rocky in the months ahead. An unrelenting congressional probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. election is a political fire the White House will be unable to completely stamp out. As a result, the issue of easing sanctions will likely continue to be too thorny to touch for the time being.

Neither the United States nor Russia will let its military guard down in Europe as the standoff endures. If Moscow and Washington hold a substantive negotiation of any kind over the next 100 days, it will be on the matter of arms control. But they will encounter major obstacles there as well. With U.S. ballistic missile defense expanding and a race for hypersonic weapons underway, Russia has no intention of hamstringing itself under foundational agreements such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which is rapidly becoming defunct. And as China sits out of the arms control discussion, both Russia and the United States will have motivation beyond their competition with each other to operate outside the obsolete bounds of their 20th-century pacts. All the while, however, they will be trying to suss out where new deals can be made.

An unrelenting congressional probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. election is a political fire the White House will be unable to completely stamp out. As a result, the issue of easing sanctions will likely continue to be too thorny to touch for the time being.

As he copes with rising discontent at home, Russian President Vladimir Putin will stick by his long-standing strategy of cracking the core of the European Union and NATO. The first round of France's presidential election pit the politically hollow and moderate Europeanist Emmanuel Macron against far-right National Front Euroskeptic Marine Le Pen. Though the second round will likely favor Macron, thus buying Europe time to hold itself together, the Continent is still on shaky ground. A polarized French electorate and the potential for gridlock to emerge from National Assembly elections in June — not to mention the deeper issues driving economic stagnation and social tensions — will keep the country's Euroskeptic current alive and hinder structural reforms. At the same time, Italy, still highly fragile, will inch toward its own elections, and the north-south chasm in Europe will widen — just as German voters prepare to head to the polls in the fall. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, is gearing up for the long and arduous negotiation ahead as it divorces itself from the European Union. (In the process, it will be creating a template for other members of the bloc to potentially do the same.) The White House has openly endorsed the Euroskeptics' vision for Europe, in line with its own view that national self-interest is not just preferable but also plain sensible. Nonetheless, this is a precarious and all-consuming path for Europe that will leave little room for the United States to impose its preferences on the bloc — and plenty of loose threads for Russia to pull in trying to unravel the Western alliance.

Risky Readjustments in the Middle East

As tremors spread across Europe and Asia, the United States will be occupied by trying to dodge pockets of political quicksand throughout the Middle East. The Syrian battlefield offers opportunities for decisive shows of military action, as demonstrated recently when Trump ordered a limited strike on a Syrian air base in response to a chemical weapons attack. But Syria is also a siren song for mission creep that the United States will struggle to resist while staying focused on the fight against the Islamic State. Within that fight, Russia will alternate between playing spoiler and mediator, trying to poke and prod the United States into a more productive dialogue. Turkey, fresh off its win in a recent constitutional referendum, can also be expected to butt heads with the Americans, Russians and Iranians while staking out its own sphere of influence across northern Syria and Iraq in the name of containing the Kurds and protecting the Sunnis against Iranian encroachment.

The leading Sunni powers of the region, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, will find this U.S. president much more willing to help keep Iran at bay than the last. While former U.S. President Barack Obama undertook the task of neutralizing the Iranian nuclear threat so that the United States could avoid being pulled into another Middle Eastern war, Trump will now work to further tilt the regional balance of power toward the Sunni camp. This doesn't mean the Trump administration is prepared to walk away from its nuclear deal with Iran and reopen yet another potential theater for conflict. Instead, the White House will take a tougher stance on Iran by reinforcing its Sunni allies in proxy battles in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Sanctions that directly interfere with the Iranian nuclear deal will likely be averted, and sanctions waivers tied to the nuclear deal will likely be extended, but additional sanctions related to human rights abuses and Iran's sponsorship of terrorism can be expected. And with Iran's presidential election set for May 19, a hard-nosed U.S. administration's efforts to keep Iran in check will have the unintended effect of bolstering Iranian hard-liners, injecting more uncertainty into the tenuous working relationship between Washington and Tehran.

Deepening Crisis in the Caribbean

The United States will also have a tough time ignoring the alarms sounding in the Caribbean in the months ahead. Deteriorating economic conditions in Venezuela have finally given way to large demonstrations in the country's urban core, including the poorest neighborhoods of Caracas where the once-powerful ideology of Chavismo has faded. The risk of state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) defaulting on its debt will rise substantially in the second half of the year, adding yet another source of instability. As that specter looms, the Venezuelan government — led by embattled President Nicolas Maduro and riddled with corrupt officials trying to evade extradition — will take steps to consolidate power into a one-party state and hunker down for the impending struggle in the streets. But deep rifts among the security and military forces charged with quashing unrest threaten to tear the government apart. The United States has the option of accelerating the administration's collapse by leveling weightier sanctions against PDVSA, but with a number of other crises and priorities to consider, it could opt to keep its distance as the country crumbles from within.

100 Days in Perspective

Despite the prestige the U.S. presidency traditionally carries, it is an office designed by America's founding fathers to be hemmed in from many sides. And though the executive branch has a little more room to shape foreign policy than domestic law, it must often contend with jagged geopolitical realities that cut into, rather than bend with, the president's worldview. "America First" also means "China First," "Russia First," "Germany First" and so on. Each state will pursue its national interests and, in doing so, often find its imperatives collide with others'. The irreversible technological, demographic and economic forces shaping global trade, the menace of a Northeast Asian war started by North Korea, the historical distrust between Russia and the West and within Europe itself, and the deeply rooted ideological and sectarian battles being waged within the Islamic world are a daunting collection of crises for any president to grapple with. And whether we look 100 days behind us or 100 days ahead, there is no question that the bounds of U.S. presidential power are being put to the test.
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« Reply #1433 on: May 16, 2017, 09:07:02 AM »


At certain times Donald Trump has seemed like a budding authoritarian, a corrupt Nixon, a rabble-rousing populist or a big business corporatist.

But as Trump has settled into his White House role, he has given a series of long interviews, and when you study the transcripts it becomes clear that fundamentally he is none of these things.

At base, Trump is an infantalist. There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.

First, most adults have learned to sit still. But mentally, Trump is still a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom. Trump’s answers in these interviews are not very long — 200 words at the high end — but he will typically flit through four or five topics before ending up with how unfair the press is to him.

His inability to focus his attention makes it hard for him to learn and master facts. He is ill informed about his own policies and tramples his own talking points. It makes it hard to control his mouth. On an impulse, he will promise a tax reform when his staff has done little of the actual work.

Second, most people of drinking age have achieved some accurate sense of themselves, some internal criteria to measure their own merits and demerits. But Trump seems to need perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he is perpetually desperate for approval, telling heroic fabulist tales about himself.

“In a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about health care,” he told Time. “A lot of the people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber,” he told The Associated Press, referring to his joint session speech.

By Trump’s own account, he knows more about aircraft carrier technology than the Navy. According to his interview with The Economist, he invented the phrase “priming the pump” (even though it was famous by 1933). Trump is not only trying to deceive others. His falsehoods are attempts to build a world in which he can feel good for an instant and comfortably deceive himself.


He is thus the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence. Trump thought he’d be celebrated for firing James Comey. He thought his press coverage would grow wildly positive once he won the nomination. He is perpetually surprised because reality does not comport with his fantasies.

Third, by adulthood most people can perceive how others are thinking. For example, they learn subtle arts such as false modesty so they won’t be perceived as obnoxious.

But Trump seems to have not yet developed a theory of mind. Other people are black boxes that supply either affirmation or disapproval. As a result, he is weirdly transparent. He wants people to love him, so he is constantly telling interviewers that he is widely loved. In Trump’s telling, every meeting was scheduled for 15 minutes but his guests stayed two hours because they liked him so much.

Which brings us to the reports that Trump betrayed an intelligence source and leaked secrets to his Russian visitors. From all we know so far, Trump didn’t do it because he is a Russian agent, or for any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires.

The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man.

Our institutions depend on people who have enough engraved character traits to fulfill their assigned duties. But there is perpetually less to Trump than it appears. When we analyze a president’s utterances we tend to assume that there is some substantive process behind the words, that it’s part of some strategic intent.

But Trump’s statements don’t necessarily come from anywhere, lead anywhere or have a permanent reality beyond his wish to be liked at any given instant.

We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

“We badly want to understand Trump, to grasp him,” David Roberts writes in Vox. “It might give us some sense of control, or at least an ability to predict what he will do next. But what if there’s nothing to understand? What if there is no there there?”

And out of that void comes a carelessness that quite possibly betrayed an intelligence source, and endangered a country.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 09:30:52 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #1434 on: May 16, 2017, 09:18:46 AM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8304654/WikiLeaks-cables-US-agrees-to-tell-Russia-Britains-nuclear-secrets.html

Good thing we haven't had a malignant narcissistic incompetent buffoon who discloses sensitive information to the Russians as president before.
 rolleyes
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ccp
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« Reply #1435 on: May 16, 2017, 09:27:40 AM »

thanks GM

This whole thing sounds like it is the LEFT trying to make a scandal out of possibly nothing.

The pres as commander in chief has the right to share informotion if he wants to.  Whehter or not he should have is another matter.
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« Reply #1436 on: May 16, 2017, 09:29:37 AM »

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/333529-frustration-abounds-in-trump-white-house
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« Reply #1437 on: May 17, 2017, 08:15:46 AM »

https://www.wsj.com/articles/loose-lips-sink-presidencies-1494977056

Loose Lips Sink Presidencies
The Russian intel story shows the price of Trump’s lost credibility.
 
President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, May 16, 2017. PHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 16, 2017 7:24 p.m. ET

The state of the Trump Presidency has been perpetual turbulence, which seems to be how the principal likes it. The latest vortex is over Mr. Trump’s disclosure of sensitive intel to the Russians—and whatever the particulars of the incident, the danger is that Presidencies can withstand only so much turbulence before they come apart.
The Washington Post reported Monday night that in an Oval Office meeting last week Mr. Trump relayed high-level “code word” classified material obtained from an ally to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Cue another Washington meltdown. The President took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to defend himself, claiming an “absolute right” to disclose “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.”

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster put a finer point on it at a Tuesday press conference, though without denying key details. He said Mr. Trump’s disclosure was “wholly appropriate” and didn’t expose intelligence sources and methods.
 
Presidents sometimes share secrets with overseas leaders—even to adversaries such as the Soviets during the Cold War—if they conclude the benefits of showing what the U.S. knows will aid diplomacy or strategic interests. From media accounts and his tweets, Mr. Trump said something about Islamic State’s laptop bomb threat to airlines. He may well have been trying to convince the envoys of the menace ISIS poses to Russian lives and foreign-policy goals, like the Russian airliner that exploded over Sinai in 2015.

Then again, the Post story has Mr. Trump boasting about how great U.S. intelligence is and divulging the info on impulse to prove it. National security officials also asked the reporters to withhold specifics about the item in question, presumably because further disclosure could undermine efforts to counter the threat or endanger the lives of human assets.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that the ally that gathered the material is Israel, and the revelation could endanger this and other intelligence-sharing relationships. The Israelis may hold back if they think their dossiers will be laundered through the U.S. to the Russians and then get passed to their Iranian and Syrian clients, and other foreign services may lose confidence in the U.S.

Lt. Gen. McMaster said he disputed “the premise” of the Post story, which was that Mr. Trump had done something wrong or unbecoming. He confirmed that Mr. Trump made the decision ad hoc “in the context of the conversation,” not before the meeting. The problem is that even if the President’s conduct was “wholly appropriate,” the story’s premise is wholly plausible.

The portrait of an inexperienced, impulsive chief who might spill secrets to an overseas foe is one to which Mr. Trump has too often contributed. It was political mismanagement even to hold the Russian meeting, especially the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey amid the investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged Russian connection.

This eruption shows why a President’s credibility is so important. If people don’t believe Mr. Trump’s words or trust his judgment, they won’t give him the benefit of the doubt or be responsive if he asks for support. Last week the White House spent two days attributing Mr. Comey’s firing to a Justice Department recommendation, only for Mr. Trump to insist in a TV interview that the pink slip came “regardless of recommendation.”

News broke late Tuesday of Mr. Comey’s contemporaneous notes that Mr. Trump asked him in February to “let this go,” referring to the FBI probe of axed National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The White House denied that account of the conversation, but that would be more credible if its previous statements were more reliable.
Mr. Trump’s strife and insults with the intelligence community were also bound to invite blowback. The Post report is sourced to “current and former U.S. officials,” which raises the question of how former officials are privy to “code word” information, defined as anything that could be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security if disclosed. In that case the public leaks about Mr. Trump’s actions, if true, will do more damage than whatever he said in private.

Mr. Trump is considering a White House shakeup, including cleaning out many of his top aides, but the White House always reflects the President’s governing style. If Mr. Trump can’t discipline himself, then no Jim Baker ex machina will make much difference.

Mr. Trump needs to appreciate how close he is to losing the Republicans he needs to pass the agenda that will determine if he is successful. Weeks of pointless melodrama and undisciplined comments have depleted public and Capitol Hill attention from health care and tax reform, and exhaustion is setting in. America holds elections every two years, and Mr. Trump’s policy allies in Congress will drift away if he looks like a liability.

Millions of Americans recognized Mr. Trump’s flaws but decided he was a risk worth taking. They assumed, or at least hoped, that he’d rise to the occasion and the demands of the job. If he cannot, he’ll betray their hopes as his Presidency sinks before his eyes.
Appeared in the May. 17, 2017, print edition.
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ccp
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« Reply #1438 on: May 17, 2017, 08:32:43 AM »

"Mr. Trump is considering a White House shakeup, including cleaning out many of his top aides, but the White House always reflects the President’s governing style. If Mr. Trump can’t discipline himself, then no Jim Baker ex machina will make much difference."

Right.  It matters not who is working for him as long as he continues to be who he has been for 70 yrs.  The liberals are certainly succeeding at using his own big mouth against him.

If the MSM were right, not left wing then we would not even be having this conversation though.

I meant if the MSM were right *wing*.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 12:03:22 PM by ccp » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #1439 on: May 17, 2017, 10:58:57 AM »

"Donald, you stupid fk!"

Can we safely assume that today will not be a day that the Trump administration will significantly move the ball forward on tax reform, Obamacare repeal or adding 75 more active ships to the Navy?

The comparisons of Trump to Ronald Reagan on focus and discipline are fading fast.

If you need to score touchdowns, how about switching from defense to offense!
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« Reply #1440 on: May 18, 2017, 07:36:53 PM »

Peggy Noonan is someone I have respected for a long time.  She has been at the highest levels of the game and always maintained class and love for America.
=====================================================================

By Peggy Noonan
May 18, 2017 7:11 p.m. ET
41 COMMENTS

This will be unpleasantly earnest, but having witnessed the atmospherics the past 10 days it’s what I think needs saying:
ADVERTISING

Everyone, get serious.

Democracy is not your plaything.

This is not a game.

The president of the United States has produced a building crisis that is unprecedented in our history. The question, at bottom, is whether Donald Trump has demonstrated, in his first four months, that he is unfit for the presidency—wholly unsuited in terms of judgment, knowledge, mental capacity, personal stability. That epic question is then broken down into discrete and specific questions: Did he improperly attempt to interfere with an FBI criminal investigation, did his presidential campaign collude with a foreign government, etc.

But the epic question underlies all. It couldn’t be more consequential and will take time to resolve. The sheer gravity of the drama will demand the best from all of us. Are we up to it?

Mr. Trump’s longtime foes, especially Democrats and progressives, are in the throes of a kind of obsessive delight. Every new blunder, every suggestion of an illegality, gives them pleasure. “He’ll be gone by autumn.”

But he was duly and legally elected by tens of millions of Americans who had legitimate reasons to support him, who knew they were throwing the long ball, and who, polls suggest, continue to support him. They believe the press is trying to kill him. “He’s new, not a politician, give him a chance.” What would it do to them, what would it say to them, to have him brusquely removed by his enemies after so little time? Would it tell them democracy is a con, the swamp always wins, you nobodies can make your little choices but we’re in control? What will that do to their faith in our institutions, in democracy itself?

These are wrenching questions.

But if Mr. Trump is truly unfit—if he has demonstrated already, so quickly, that he cannot competently perform the role, and that his drama will only get more dangerous and chaotic, how much time should pass to let him prove it? And how dangerous will the proving get?

Again, wrenching questions. So this is no time for blood lust and delight. Because democracy is not your plaything.

The president’s staffers seem to spend most of their time on the phone, leaking and seeking advantage, trying not to be named in the next White House Shake-Up story. A reliable anonymous source who gives good quote will be protected—for a while. The president spends his time tweeting his inane, bizarre messages—he’s the victim of a “witch hunt”—from his bed, with his iPad. And giving speeches, as he did this week at the Coast Guard Academy: “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” Actually Lincoln got secession, civil war and a daily pounding from an abolitionist press that thought he didn’t go far enough and moderates who slammed his brutalist pursuit of victory. Then someone shot him in the head. So he had his challenges.

Journalists on fire with the great story of their lives—the most bizarre presidency in U.S. history and the breaking news of its daily missteps—cheer when their scoop that could bring down a president gets more hits then the previous record holder, the scoop that could bring down the candidate.

Stop leaking, tweeting, cheering. Democracy is not your plaything.

There’s a sense nobody’s in charge, that there’s no power center that’s holding, that in Washington they’re all randomly slamming into each other.

Which is not good in a crisis.

For Capitol Hill Democrats the crisis appears to be primarily a chance to showboat. Republicans are evolving, some starting to use the word “unfit” and some, as a congressman told me, “talking like they’re in a shelter for abused women. ‘He didn’t mean to throw me down the stairs.’ ‘He promised not to punch me again.’ ”

We’re chasing so many rabbits, we can’t keep track—Comey, FBI, memoranda; Russia, Flynn, the Trump campaign; Lavrov, indiscretions with intelligence. It’s become a blur.

But there’s an emerging sense of tragedy, isn’t there? Crucially needed reforms in taxing, regulation and infrastructure—changes the country needs!—are thwarted, all momentum killed. Markets are nervous.

The world sees the U.S. political system once again as a circus. Once the circus comes to town, it consumes everything, absorbs all energy.

I asked the ambassador to the U.S. from one of our greatest allies: “What does Europe say now when America leaves the room?” You’re still great, he said, but “we think you’re having a nervous breakdown.”

It is absurd to think the president can solve his problems by firing his staff. They are not the problem. He is the problem. They’re not the A-Team, they’re not the counselors you’d want, experienced and wise. They’re the island of misfit toys. But they could function adequately if he could lead adequately. For months he’s told friends he’s about to make big changes, and doesn’t. Why? Maybe because talented people on the outside don’t want to enter a poisonous staff environment just for the joy of committing career suicide. So he’s stuck, surrounded by people who increasingly resent him, who fear his unpredictably and pique and will surely one day begin to speak on the record.

A mystery: Why is the president never careful? He doesn’t act as if he’s picking his way through a minefield every day, which he is. He acts like he’s gamboling through safe terrain. Thus he indulges himself with strange claims, statements, tweets. He comports himself as if he has a buffer of deep support. He doesn’t. Nationally his approval numbers are in the mid to high 30s.

His position is not secure. And yet he gambols on, both paranoid and oblivious.

History is going to judge us by how we comported ourselves in this murky time. It will see who cared first for the country and who didn’t, who kept his head and did not, who remained true and calm and played it straight.

Now there will be a special prosecutor. In the short term this buys the White House time.

Here’s an idea.

It would be good if top Hill Republicans went en masse to the president and said: “Stop it. Clean up your act. Shut your mouth. Do your job. Stop tweeting. Stop seething. Stop wasting time. You lost the thread and don’t even know what you were elected to do anymore. Get a grip. Grow up and look at the terrain, see it for what it is. We have limited time. Every day you undercut yourself, you undercut us. More important, you keep from happening the good policy things we could have done together. If you don’t grow up fast, you’ll wind up abandoned and alone. Act like a president or leave the presidency.”

Could it help? For a minute. But it would be constructive—not just carping, leaking, posing, cheering and tweeting but actually trying to lead.

The president needs to be told: Democracy is not your plaything.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 07:39:19 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #1441 on: May 19, 2017, 07:53:05 AM »

I also like Peggy Noonan a lot and this is the most sane criticism and helpful advice for him I have seen, and beautifully written.  Lincoln had his challenges too!

OTOH...  I think there is an unprecedented level of fake news going on against Trump.  Keeping your head on straight through that would be hard for anyone.  Fighting back is what got him where he is, for better or worse.  Of course he should keep his focus on issues and solutions.  It's not that he tweets; it's the content of the tweets.

"It would be good if top Hill Republicans went en masse to the president and said: “Stop it. Clean up your act..."

No.  This President won an election over building a wall and they haven't funded it.  This President released Obamacare repeal and replace, phase one that only needs 50 votes in the Senate, and they haven't got a bill through both chambers for him to sign yet.  The President released comprehensive tax reform - nothing passed in either chamber yet.  In the spirit of separation of powers, "top Hill Republicans" need to get their own act together.  They will be judged by the electorate before he is.
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« Reply #1442 on: May 19, 2017, 08:40:13 AM »

"No.  This President won an election over building a wall and they haven't funded it.  This President released Obamacare repeal and replace, phase one that only needs 50 votes in the Senate, and they haven't got a bill through both chambers for him to sign yet.  The President released comprehensive tax reform - nothing passed in either chamber yet.  In the spirit of separation of powers, "top Hill Republicans" need to get their own act together.  They will be judged by the electorate before he is."

I fully agree with identifying CONGRESS as failing to meet its responsibilities.

To your list I would add getting the budget back to "regular order" i.e. instead of one big mess of Continuing Resolution returning to passing bills department by department.
==========================

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« Reply #1443 on: May 19, 2017, 09:05:23 AM »

 By Daniel Henninger
May 17, 2017 6:50 p.m. ET
609 COMMENTS

After the past two weeks, one must ask: How many parallel universes can the U.S. political system endure?

Let us enumerate the celestial bodies traveling along independent orbits just now: Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, the Beltway press chorus, the White House’s Borgia factions, 2018’s at-risk congressional Republicans, the Schumer Democrats, the mosquito clouds of social media, and the various people working in what little exists so far of the Trump government.

One more parallel universe deserves mention: the Trump vote, which decided the 2016 election. Oh, them.

The Trump vote sits out in the country watching the Washington spectacle of all things Comey, all things Russian, rumors of White House firings, and the president’s tweetstorms.

Polls suggest most Trump voters aren’t much moved by these events. After surviving the 2016 election, the Trump voter remains fixed on achieving the Trump agenda—the economy, health care, taxes, education, America’s global standing, financial reform, immigration, infrastructure, trade. They are willing to put up with a lot, because they know that President Donald J. Trump is the only vessel they’ve got.

Trump voters, however, should not underestimate the dangers of the current Washington circus. It isn’t a sideshow. It could pull down him and them.

If Republicans running in 23 House districts carried by Hillary Clinton, or districts barely carried by Mr. Trump, distance themselves from the White-House mayhem, vote margins for the Trump legislative agenda will be at risk. Wednesday’s down stock market was a canary in that mineshaft.

If Democrats win back the House in 2018, they will commence impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump and his presidency will lose its ability to function for half its term.

Something’s gotta give in Washington. It’s not going to be Donald Trump.

The rumors of a White House shake-up include the suggestion that Mr. Trump may fire Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, communications director Mike Dubke, counsel Don McGahn and consigliere Steve Bannon. What difference would that make?

No conceivable chief of staff would sign on now without a commitment from the president of full control over White House operations and messaging. Donald Trump won’t cede that. He believes what he is doing is fine, as he’s said in multiple interviews. So let’s consider something completely different.

There is a reality at the center of this matter that has to be faced: Donald Trump doesn’t like intermediaries. He abhors anything that gets between him and the public. The problem is not Sean Spicer’s performance as press secretary. The problem is positioning anything between Donald Trump’s mind and the outside world.

When Mr. Trump says he is moving too fast and doing too much for any of his staff to keep up, we should take him at his word. He wants direct access. So, create a system that gives him exactly that.

The answer is to cut out the middlemen. Let Trump be Trump.

Donald Trump should serve as his own press secretary and maybe his own chief of staff. I would even propose that the Trump presidency go live to the world, with a camera crew recording the president and his moment-to-moment thoughts in real time every day. President Trump as messenger in chief.

A month ago, this proposal would have been read as satire. But it is now close to the manifest reality of the Trump White House.

If Mr. Trump says or tweets something that causes a stir, such as pulling out of Nafta, let him talk to reporters on his terms to explain what he meant. If he changes his mind in minutes, hours or days, he can turn to the real-time camera and do it. But he takes responsibility for the Trump message.

Mr. Trump managing the message flow himself won’t eliminate all the static, but it would remove the press spending days pounding intermediaries like Sean Spicer to produce answers the president hasn’t shared with his people or isn’t ready to share. If the Trump presidency is going to produce static on a scale of 1 to 100, why not live with his 50 rather than the current 90?

Think of the Trump presidency as a Wikipedia entry, a project of constant updating, correction and revision. Once people get used to Donald Trump as a wiki, with him as the main editor, things might calm down. For Congress and the legislative agenda, midcourse corrections would become the daily routine, rather than media melodramas. The goal is relative stability.

There are all sorts of objections to a real-time Trump. It won’t solve White House disorganization, but nothing is workable in this unique context. The old normal isn’t happening and never will.

Discontinuity defines the Trump personality, and this won’t change. But if it’s all passing through him in real time, then corrections of facts, policy or intent can come earlier and reduce the current period of radioactive fallout.

Let Trump be Trump, for as long as it lasts.

Write henninger@wsj.com.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1444 on: May 19, 2017, 09:06:57 AM »

Third post of the day:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-employees-of-donald-trump-say-they-saw-him-tape-conversations-1494715712?mod=fbads
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1445 on: May 22, 2017, 06:48:57 AM »

http://dailysignal.com/2017/05/12/333351/?utm_source=TDS_Email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Top5&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTURKbU1UQTJaVFpoWVRobSIsInQiOiIxc1k5Y2dkTm9PQmNkbk90YlFWZzM0RmJFc29FRTRuZzEzMXBoa2J3Z2V4a05UZ1lmTVIyc1dWU1VLdWs1NkJrOHNtK2JEbmZpektUUTlMUzdDTGpWOGhMb2NTdzUrSEVpVmtqbUZYMDlBMXpGSm9JcTFVd0RKVzRKQW9oT2NUNSJ9
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1446 on: May 25, 2017, 01:11:29 PM »

http://theweek.com/speedreads/701368/watch-trump-casually-push-fellow-nato-leader-way-preen-front
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G M
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« Reply #1447 on: May 25, 2017, 02:34:27 PM »


Montenegro is very low energy, very much not paying it's way. America is leading from the front. Bigly!
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