Saturday, August 31, 2019


Trump is trying to rewrite economics
[Trump] The Euro is dropping against the Dollar “like crazy,” giving them a big export and manufacturing advantage...and the Fed does NOTHING! Our Dollar is now the strongest in history. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Except to those (manufacturers) that make product for sale outside the U.S.  We don’t have a Tariff problem (we are reigning in bad and/or unfair players), we have a Fed problem. 

January 2018:
President Donald Trump told CNBC on Thursday the dollar will strengthen over time under his leadership . . . “The dollar is going to get stronger and stronger, and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar,” Trump said 

[NB: Trump is simpleminded and loves words like "strong" -- in fact, especially "strong" and "strongly":] 

Trump attacks GM

President Trump tweeted that “badly run and weak companies” have blamed his trade war with China for flagging business in order to mask “bad management.”

[NB: Here again we see two of Trump's values come into conflict, and we know which one wins. He is a great champion of U.S. companies, except when they question his policies. Then they become enemies, to be attacked. Of course.]

The standard conservative line is that business hates regulation. That's not actually true

[NB: Smart capitalists have always understood that some regulation helps correct the natural excesses of capitalism, and in that sense helps to PRESERVE capitalism. Regulations help prevent corruption, preserve the conditions for fair market competition, avoid unnecessary and destructive "externalities," and more.]

Trump is pissing off the farmers. That's ominous for him with an election coming up

Trump tweets a photo from a classified briefing
“A U.S. defense official told CNBC that the picture in Trump’s tweet, which appeared to be a snapshot of a physical copy of the satellite image, was included in a Friday intelligence briefing. Experts told CNBC that the shot was likely never meant for public view.”
How Trump Used Classified Intel to Troll Iran

Trump told reporters late Friday that he had an “absolute right” to release the photo he had tweeted earlier . . .

[NB: There's that phrase again. He's been using it a lot lately. That's a lot of "absolute rights."]

Netanyahu doesn't want a Trump/Iran meeting to take place

Looks like John Bolton is already on the outs with his boss

Defense officials don't want to give up their funds to build Trump's stupid Wall™
CNN reports that the money that Trump is going after now was originally slated to build hospitals, schools, and housing on military bases. . . .

The new line from Trump's defenders: he NEVER lies. This is what tells you it's propaganda -- it's not only demonstrably, laughably untrue, but it's a ridiculous defense to start with, because every politician lies. It's an occupational requirement
“Stuart, do you believe this president lies? Walsh asked Varney.
“No,” Varney replied.
“You don’t believe he’s ever lied?” Walsh asked again.
“He exaggerates and spins,” Varney said.

Aides Admit Trump Lied To Manipulate The Stock Markets
It Is Very Bad That Our President Reportedly Lied About Trade Negotiations With China
[NB: And, yes, exaggerating and spinning ARE lying.]
Ha, ha. ha: Donald Junior holds a rally in Kentucky. No one shows up
Trump Jr says he partly grew up in the rust belt because he went to a boarding school in Pottstown, PA, understands working class issues . . .

[NB: Yep, nothing says "working class" like "boarding school."]

More ridicule:

In investigation news . . .

Trump thinks AG Bill Barr did James Comey a favor by not charging him. Here's why he SHOULDN'T have been charged

Is James Comey a Leaker or a Whistleblower?
And there it is: the inspector general of the United States Department of Justice taking the position that a witness to gross misconduct by the president of the United States has a duty to keep his mouth shut about what he saw. Remember, after all, that Comey was a witness here as well as the former FBI director. That’s an extraordinary position for a law enforcement organization to take. . . . [read on]
Of Course Comey Was Right to Share the Memos

[NB: And what does THIS mean?]   “The disastrous IG Report on James Comey shows, in the strongest of terms, how unfairly I, and tens of millions of great people who support me, were treated. . . . We should be given our stolen time back?” Trump wrote.

[NB: Trump has hinted before that his term of office should be EXTENDED as a compensation for lost time due to the "phony witch hunt!" investigation. This just raises more questions about what he might do if (when) he loses in 2020.]

The Office of Legal Council (OLC) is a very important (and often very secret) way of establishing new law, or new interpretation of law. It was Bush's OLC, for example, that produced the infamous memos justifying torture. Here's why the OLC matters


This will be fascinating 
Military judge sets 2021 trial date for alleged 9/11 plotter
In other news . . . 

Madeleine Westerhout, Trump's Executive Assistant, got booted for talking to the press. The backstory is interesting
The former Mitt Romney 2012 campaign staffer was “inconsolable” on Election Night 2016 because Trump had won the election. “To the amusement of her RNC peers, she was later chosen as the president’s executive assistant and now sits just outside the Oval Office.”

In the past six months, Westerhout had tried to expand the boundaries of her job to encompass a broader set of tasks and to include foreign travel, said one adviser close to the White House, who suggested Westerhout had tried to act like a de facto chief of staff. This irked several White House officials and Cabinet secretaries who thought she should stick to her primary task of serving as the president’s personal secretary with a desk just outside the Oval Office . . .The White House was buzzing for most of the day on Thursday about her potential departure — especially after officials learned that she had attended an off-the-record dinner with reporters in Bedminster, N.J., where she was said to have shared overly personal details about the president’s life. The close White House adviser called this “the final straw” for someone who did not have many allies left in the building. . . Many Trump 2016 campaign officials had always been wary of Westerhout, who joined the Trump transition from the Republican National Committee and was not an original Trump loyalist. 

Now we know why she got fired, and you know what? I would have fired her too
Madeleine Westerhout, who left her White House job suddenly on Thursday as President Trump’s personal assistant, was fired after bragging to reporters that she had a better relationship with Trump than his own daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, and that the president did not like being in pictures with Tiffany because he perceived her as overweight. . .  

Oh, ho, ho. Turns out she DOESN'T have an NDA, but it looks like she will have a book contract . . . soon

[NB: Dangerous to fire people who hold so much dirt on you.]

Watch this: Trump 2015, versus Trump 2019 

This could be one of those "be careful what you ask for" situations
Mental illness is not what’s driving high rates of mass shootings in the U.S., but Donald Trump thinks it is and wants more institutions . . . [read on] 

Apparently Trump thinks he's still running against Hillary (should we tell him?)  

Fox World is trying to protect what's left of its credibility as a news organization -- and Trump doesn't like that 

The two ladies, Diamond and Silk, are two of the clownier clowns in the Trump Traveling Clown Show. Last year they were whining to Congress that Facebook was "censoring" their free speech. Now they're lawyering up, trying to silence other voices who have criticized them

Isn't it funny (not funny) how it always turns out this way?
Probe of missing Georgia votes finds "extreme" irregularities in black districts

Another GOP Rep retires 

Iowa and Nevada wanted to host "virtual caucuses." The DNC said no. Now they're pissed

When you start to rise as a candidate, your opponents try to pull you down. Now it's Elizabeth Warren's turn
The Elizabeth Warren honeymoon may be coming to an end. . . . with the Massachusetts senator now drawing massive crowds and surging in national polls, competing campaigns are starting to refocus on Warren, looking to blunt her momentum. Democrats are already opening up new lines of attack: calling her celebrated policy proposals a “fraud,” challenging her to say how she’d pay for a massive health care plan, highlighting a lack of diversity in her supporters and dropping reminders of Warren’s long span as a Republican. . . .

Warren Once Wrote a Book on How to Get Rich

I liked Kirsten Gillibrand, but I never took her very seriously as a presidential candidate. Maybe this is why, from one of her SUPPORTERS
I found her lack of traction in the campaign somewhat perplexing. She’s smart, charismatic, relatively youthful and energetic, experienced, physically attractive, and from a big state with lots of wealthy donors. . . .

Why Couldn’t I Make Myself Like Kirsten Gillibrand? 

I believe this: one way or the other, women voters will decide this election 

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Friday, August 30, 2019


Trump's comment the other day about the "tremendous wealth under our feet" tells you his views on energy and the environment. As the U.S. turns into a net energy exporter, there is just too much money to be made from fossil fuels, whatever the environmental consequences. And we see, once again, that Trump is much more interested in short-term economic benefits (that make him look good) rather than long-term planning for a different energy future
Trump Proposes Eliminating Methane Emissions Regulations for the Oil and Gas Industry 

Can you spot the key words in this sentence?
The Trump administration will seek to roll back rules limiting methane pollution from oil and gas production, gutting a regulation put in place under President Barack Obama . . .


So now we know which wins out, Trump's proclaimed adoration for the troops or his xenophobia about immigration
Trump Ends Automatic Citizenship for Some Military Children

This is a strange headline. The "actually" makes it sound as if it's surprising that Trump's record of cruelty and racism might be hurting him politically. I have always seen the immigration issue as a net loser for him (cf. the Wall™). His base loves it, of course, but everyone else is horrified by what he is doing
Immigration cruelty may actually be hurting Trump — even as he pushes it to new levels

Trump needs support from farmers. But he treats them like dirt
Trump doesn’t have farmers’ support like he thinks he does.


Trump says he isn't worried about the economy -- but his party is 

“He and his economic team, who are often at odds with one another, have been searching for ways to prevent market anxieties from spilling over into next year’s presidential election, but have yet to agree on a solution. They have wavered between floating tax cuts to insisting they aren’t considering tax cuts. They have feuded privately over which direction to take. They have contradicted each other publicly.”

“And Trump has insisted it’s the Federal Reserve’s fault, while his own aides have admitted much of it is because of his trade war with China. Trump refuses to give up on the tactic, saying it would make him look weak.”

Yes, Trump lied about the China phone calls
“Though Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted there had been ‘communication,’ aides privately conceded the phone calls Trump described didn’t happen they way he said they did. . . Instead, two officials said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets . . .”  

What is Trump's plan for Afghanistan? No one knows

Trump undercuts Ukraine, helps Russia. Is anyone surprised?

Former Sect'y of Defense James Mattis, to use a military metaphor, fired a shot across Trump's bow -- now it's clear he has a lot more to say

In investigation news . . .

The Inspector General report on Former FBI Director James Comey is out, and there's a bit of something for everyone in it. But one thing is clear in Bill Barr's Justice Dept: if you came out against Trump, we are coming after you
Justice Department Inspector General Blasts Comey: ‘Set a Dangerous Example’ by Leaking Memos About Trump
Yes, James Comey Violated A DOJ Rule — Under Extraordinary Circumstances
[Renato Mariotti] Trump asked the FBI Director for "loyalty" and then asked him to drop the criminal investigation of his friend. Comey acted to expose that corruption and he is faulted for not following DOJ policy? Trump's corrupt acts are the real problem, not Comey's attempt to expose them.
The IG found “no evidence” that Comey had leaked classified information to the media as the president has repeatedly and falsely alleged. It was reported earlier this month that the DOJ would not be bringing any charges against Comey. . .


In other news . . .

Lawrence O'Donnell's goof in going public with a single-sourced story about Trump and Russia, which pulled in a lot of people (including me), is now going to backfire and HELP Trump, just like the 60 Minutes National Guard story helped George Bush


"NDA" means ND - flipping - A!
“President Trump’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, whose office sits in front of the Oval Office and who has served as the president’s gatekeeper since Day 1 of his administration, resigned on Thursday,” the New York Times reports. “Ms. Westerhout’s abrupt and unexpected departure came after Mr. Trump learned on Thursday that she had indiscreetly shared details about his family and the Oval Office operations she was part of during a recent off-the-record dinner with reporters...”

Sometimes they just put their message right out there
Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro: Dems Plotting to ‘Replace American Citizens With Illegals’


Why Trump won't do an interview on CNN
President Trump said he’s not inclined to do an interview with CNN because he thinks it would be “disloyal” to his supporters...

I love this story. If you've been following this family drama, many of the most toxic internal turf battles in Trump's WH start with the same two people -- who are venomous and seek to destroy other centers of power that threaten their influence over Trump. Fortunately, their political instincts are for crap and their advice is often wrong
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have discussed the possibility of replacing Vice President Mike Pence with Nikki Haley on the 2020 Republican ticket.

The Senate map is a target-rich environment for the Dems, if they are smart
Bonus item: No joke. Trump tweets out a "Trump/Pence" logo taken straight from a white supremacist web site


Extra bonus item: someone named "Randy Rainbow" interviews Trump (thanks to AG for the link)

***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest 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.***