Thursday, August 31, 2017


Trump manages to visit a flood zone without having to deal with any of the actual victims
It was a presidential trip to a deluged state where the president didn’t meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street. But the daylong visit, during which President Donald Trump spent far more time in the air than on the ground, gave the optics-obsessed president some of the visuals he wanted, as he checked in on the government apparatus working on relief efforts and was buoyed by a roaring crowd of locals. . . . [read on]

A Washington Post analysis noted, “Yet again, Trump managed to turn attention on himself.” The piece added that as of late yesterday, “the president had yet to mention those killed, call on other Americans to help or directly encourage donations to relief organizations.” . . . [read on] 

A matter of priorities 
House GOP Eyes Cutting $1 Billion From Disaster Relief To Pay For Border Wall
Trump tries to roll out a big push to pass "tax reform" -- without telling us exactly what the plan is (because that approach worked so well with health care reform)


Selling corporate tax cuts as populist policy  

Four months ago the Trump regime released their "tax plan": a one-page outline that they promised would be fleshed out later. Trump has since decided that leaving things vague will allow him to take credit for whatever happens -- while shedding blame if he doesn't get what he wants. In his big speech in Missouri, he said he plans to "work with" Congress, but then immediately shifted to "they" talk: THEY better produce something, THEY better not fail again like they did with health care, THEY better not let the American people down
Trump's Fill-in-the-Blanks Tax Reform Plan
Trump in Missouri Lays Groundwork for Tax Overhaul but Offers No Details
“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done. And I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand me?,” he said. “Do you understand? Understand? Congress. I think Congress is going to make a comeback. I hope so.”


The buck stops . . . uh, somewhere over. . . THERE
President Harry Truman had a sign on a desk that famously came to symbolize the role of the presidency. It said, simply, “The buck stops here.” At the end of the day, the final decision was the president’s. The president drove the bus.  That’s not the Trump way. Whether out of indifference, a lack of familiarity with the machinations of Washington or thanks to his historically low popular support, on many issues Trump finds himself riding as a passenger.  The House health-care bill is one example. The Senate version is another. Even after Trump called the House bill mean, Senate Republicans introduced much the same legislation. As it faltered, senators flirted with perhaps simply repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it at some point in the future. Trump didn’t care which approach they took, alternately arguing for one or the other depending on which appeared to be most likely at any given moment. Ultimately, it came down to this: Repeal it, or repeal and replace it, whatever! Just do something, and I will sign it.

When it didn’t happen, Trump assumed none of the blame . . . It’s impossible to avoid mentioning another bit of context. Trump made an unusual promise during the campaign: That he alone could fix the problems of Washington. It seems he can’t. [read on]

The Incredible Shrinking West Wing
After a summer of distracting staff churn, the communications director job is just one of a number of top-level West Wing positions that has ultimately been filled by an existing staffer – or not filled at all – after an official has quit or been let go. Interviews with six White House staffers and people close to the president attribute Trump’s shrinking West Wing to three factors: chief of staff John Kelly’s careful review process, which has led to the paring down of an organization that many inside have complained was top-heavy; the chilling factor of five open-ended Russia investigations hanging over the White House, making it hard to attract new talent; and the president’s own dark mood this summer, which has left him increasingly isolated and in the mood to hunker down, not hire up. . . . [read on]

Two days ago Trump said "All options are on the table" with North Korea. Now he says, Talking is not an option

Trump Doesn't Have the Authority to Attack North Korea Without Congress
Nuclear diplomacy in 140 characters is a very bad idea. 

The man they call "Mad Dog" has to correct and moderate Trump's rantings (again)
“We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis told pool reporters . . .

Big news: Robert Mueller is working with Eric Schneiderman, the hyper-aggressive Attorney General for New York and long-time Trump nemesis (he won the Trump U case). The focus is on Paul Manafort -- and as it appears that Trump might pardon him (relieving the pressure that Mueller is putting on him to turn state's evidence), coordinating with possible charges in New York (which Trump can't pardon) is a way of keeping the pressure on him. 

The other shoe to drop is that Trump and his proxies will cite this as "proof" that Mueller is working with partisan Democrats who have it in for Trump. Bringing Schneiderman into this process is sure to make Trump's head explode  

The fact is, Trump's heavy hints that he might pardon his co-conspirators is itself an obstruction of justice, tacitly reassuring them that if they stay loyal and don't cooperate with Mueller, he will take care of them. Now that's being taken away, at least where Manafort is concerned -- and it's looking more and more obvious that Manafort has the Goods. That's why they're squeezing him so hard. When you cut a deal, it's because you can provide a bigger fish. I think we know who the Big Fish is
Robert Mueller Eliminates Trump’s Trump Card

Trump calls the chair of the senate committee that will be interrogating his son to tell him he backs ethanol policies the senator favors. Just a coincidence, I am SURE 

Trump tried THREE TIMES to land a big real estate deal in Russia. Now he's lying about it. The stories of why he failed are interesting
Kellyanne Conway insisted Tuesday that “nothing came” of a 2015 effort to build a Trump-branded tower in Moscow. “There is no Trump Tower in Moscow, no visit was made,” Conway told Fox News. “He has no business dealings there and in this case no deal was made,” she added.  

But that surely wasn’t for lack of trying. In addition to extensive stateside real estate transactions with Russian nationals and immigrants from the former Soviet bloc, the Trump Organization engaged in multiple efforts to make a physical mark in Russia with a luxury hotel and condo building in the flashy Moscow City business district. Trump and his adult children made separate attempts to move forward with such a project three times in the decade leading up to the presidential campaign . . . [read on]

"The gap between the lie and the truth" 

Hmm. . . . somebody's lying. Guess who?
Kremlin Confirms Trump Lawyer Reached Out During Campaign For Moscow Deal
NYT: Cohen ‘Vehemently’ Denies Trump Dossier Allegations About Himself


You have to ask yourself why far right-wingers like Dana Rohrabacher are suddenly so eager to defend Julian Assange and promote the myth that Russia had nothing to do with the DNC hack 

Trump announces that Finland is going to buy lots of US-made F-18 fighter jets. Finland says. . . huh-uh 

I really don't understand why people keep imagining that Trump's daughter Ivanka exercises some kind of moderating influence on her dad. There is no evidence of that

Trevor Noah:

Nice insight here: the key to understanding the undying devotion of Trump's hard core base is that he makes them feel that THEIR enemies are HIS enemies

Let's set aside the question of Trump's base. What about the Republicans who see Trump's shortcomings, but continue to support him? THAT's what is allowing him to survive. And, boy, do they have to go through some tortured mental gymnastics 
“What most disappoints me is he’s such an incredibly flawed individual who has articulated so many of the values that I hold dear,” said Tony Sciullo, a Trump voter who now calls the president an “abject disappointment.” . . .
“We know he’s a nut. Everyone knew he was a nut. But there comes a point in time when you have to become professional. He’s not professional, forget about presidential,” she said. 

In favor of Universal Basic Income (UBI) 

The rise of wind and solar energy -- no thanks to Trump 

Fox keeps bashing the black Democratic mayor of Houston

The loons want to respond to criticisms of Trump's handling of Hurricane Harvey by asking -- yeah, what about OBAMA and KATRINA?

[NB: No, Obama wasn't president during Katrina.]

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017


The Trump Tower story begins to connect many of the Russia scandal threads  
As CNN summarized in this article, Trump used to brag about his knowledge of Russia and claimed that he had a personal relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin — until February of 2016 when he suddenly began to claim that he had never met the man and had never done any business in Russia other than the now-legendary Miss Universe pageant in 2013. He slipped up at least once in the ensuing months, telling Bret Baier of Fox News he might know Putin but couldn’t talk about it, but for the most part his line was this one, told to a Miami TV station in July of 2016: “I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do. I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.” . . . [read on]

The shady money sources for the Trump Tower deal 

Who is Felix Sater?

The current Trump excuse is that the Tower was never built, so there's nothing to this. That is a really dumb excuse
Here’s What Cohen Was Doing For Trump Campaign While Working On Russia Deal

Why pardoning everyone in the Russia scandal still wouldn't protect Trump 

A case for impeachment

Trump has been whining that "obstructionist Dems" are preventing him from filling government posts. Now he says he MEANT to do that 

Pee Wee:

Trump wants to pick a fight with China (he will lose)
Reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying or displaced Texans and no expression of sympathy for them. . . .  [read on]
Trump's Empathy Deficit
But what Trump saw in Hurricane Harvey was a mirror of his own majesty. A storm worthy of a stud like him. A meteorological complement to one of his resorts, rallies or steaks. Something really, really big. “Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!” Trump marveled on Twitter, and I read exultation into that not because I’m sour on the president but because I have eyes. Also because I have a memory. He has used almost exactly those words to describe a buffet of developments in his rise and reign, always with an air of self-impressed wonder. [read on]
Trump treats his first big natural disaster like a campaign rally 

How Harvey complicates federal budget planning
“President Trump’s vow that he’ll veto the CR and shut down the government if money for his wall between the U.S. and Mexico isn’t included is still in effect. In fact, it’s noteworthy that he hasn’t yet withdrawn or modified that threat in the face of the Harvey-caused destruction.” . . . [read on]

The coming fight in Congress over Hurricane Harvey money

Because Trump has no idea what he is talking about, he is captivated by the IMAGE of a Wall (a "big beautiful powerful wall") that will block out all the bad things coming across the border. There are numerous practical and logistical issues with building a 2000-mile wall, first of all -- but also the difficult reality that it WON'T stop the things he wants to stop

This just makes me sick
ICE Seeks To Destroy Records On Detainee Deaths, Sexual Abuse

Sebastian Gorka says he left the White House voluntarily. This sure doesn't sound like it
Hours before Sebastian Gorka went public Friday with claims that he had resigned as deputy assistant to the President, an order barring him from entering the White House complex reportedly circulated among Secret Service staffers. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes obtained two emails, sent at 6:45 and 7:15 p.m., notifying Secret Service staff that a “do not admit” order had been issued for Gorka and that his blue badge allowing him free reign of the White House and neighboring Old Executive Office Building had been deactivated. . .

Trump’s Ousted Attack Dog Gorka Lashes Out At ‘Anti-MAGA Clique’ In WH
“That’s why I left so we can support the President from the outside because that’s why he was elected and he is not going to give up,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” “The question is are the people around him going to support him? At least the people on the outside like myself, Steve Bannon, we are going to support him to the fullest.” 

The scripted versus unscripted Trumps 

Here are the first two questions on the White House internship application
“Why are you committed to supporting President Donald J. Trump’s Administration?”

And the second: “Who is your favorite President, and why?”  

Dropping like a rock 
A new polling low for Trump: Just 16 percent ‘like’ his conduct as president

In Fox World, a natural disaster is an excuse for going after Democratic politicians
"I hate to politicize this, but . .  ."

[NB: No you don't!]

Boy, Obamacare is really failing, isn't it?  
The number of insured Americans just hit a new high

Can the Dems have TOO MANY 2018 candidates?

The case against Antifa

Soul searching? Let me help out here: Antifa good, violent antifa bad.

“You know, for a guy who’s not racist, Donald Trump sure has a lot of racist friends,” cracked Noah. “He’s like the straight guy at the gym that all the gay guys hit on. Maybe they know something you don’t. Just maybe.” [watch!]

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***