Daily Archives: December 29, 2019

Here Are All the Books Donald Trump Recommended in 2019 – Slate

Posted: December 29, 2019 at 11:46 pm

Why buy one copy when you could have five?

Johannes Eisele/Getty Images

Over the weekend, former president Barack Obama released lists of his favorite books, movies, and TV shows from 2019, and once again the internet is ablaze with fond reminiscences of the good old days, when the empire had better table manners. Comparing reading and viewing habits have always struck me as a strange way to judge politicians: It doesnt really matter if the boot stamping on a human face knows it is alluding to Orwell. But if taste is a notoriously unreliable measure of virtue, let alone presidential ability, its an extremely reliable measure of taste. So here is a list of every book Donald Trump recommended on Twitter in 2019. As youll see, while Barack Obamas list represents a broad sampling of the planets cultural output, Trumps interests are narrower. Much, much narrower.

Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency, by Andrew C.McCarthy. The Case Against Socialism, by Rand Paul. The Case for Nationalism: How It Made Us Powerful, United, and Free, by Rich Lowry.

The Case for Trump, by Victor Davis Hanson.

Choosing the Extraordinary Life: Gods 7 Secrets for Success and Significance, by Robert Jeffress.

Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump, by George Papadopoulos

Exonerated: The Failed Takedown of President Donald Trump by the Swamp, by Dan Bongino.

Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clintons Failed Campaign and Donald Trumps Winning Strategy, by Doug Wead. The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get, by Joe Ricketts.

Inside Trumps White House: The Real Story of His Presidency, by Doug Wead.

Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino.

Our Lost Declaration: Americas Fight Against Tyranny From King George to the Deep State, by Mike Lee.

Paloma Wants to Be Lady Freedom, by Rachel Campos-Duffy.

The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Scandal in U.S. History, by Lee Smith.

Power Grab: The Liberal Scheme to Undermine Trump, the GOP, and Our Republic, by Jason Chaffetz.

Radicals, Resistance, and Revenge: The Lefts Plot to Remake America, by Jeanine Pirro.

The Real Deal: My Decade Fighting Battles and Winning Wars With Trump, by George A. Sorial and Damian Bates.

Rebuilding Sergeant Peck: How I Put Body and Soul Back Together After Afghanistan, by John Peck, Dava Guerin, and Terry Bivens.

Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters Are Breaking America, by Kimberley Strassel.

Sacred Duty: A Soldiers Tour of Arlington National Cemetery, by Tom Cotton.

Still Winning: Why America Went All in on Donald Trump and Why We Must Do It Again, by Charles Hurt.

Taken for Granted: How Conservatism Can Win Back the Americans That Liberalism Failed, by Gianno Caldwell.

Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, by Donald Trump, Jr.

Unfreedom of the Press, by Mark R. Levin.

What Really Happened: How Donald J. Trump Saved America From Hillary Clinton, by Howie Carr.

Why We Fight: Defeating Americas EnemiesWith No Apologies, by Sebastian Gorka.

Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History, by Gregg Jarrett.

With All Due Respect: Defending America With Grit and Grace, by Nikki R. Haley.

Wow! Those are definitely all books! As for TV and movies, besides his constant bragging about The Apprentice and obsessive love for Fox & Friends, this appears to be the only television program Donald Trump recommended all year:

While its impossible to predict which books, movies, and television shows Donald Trump will recommend in 2020, it seems like its extremely easy to predict why he will recommend them. Start retitling your upcoming work now.


Here Are All the Books Donald Trump Recommended in 2019 - Slate

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Trump’s secret plan to pressure Ukraine reportedly pitted administration officials against each other – Business Insider

Posted: at 11:46 pm

President Donald Trump's request to block nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine reportedly drove deep divisions between administration officials who were taken aback by the move.

A comprehensive investigation by The New York Times into the attitudes inside the administration during the 84 days between when Trump first inquired about the funding package to his decision to call back the block in September revealed tensions between top members of Trump's inner circle.

In addition to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Russell T. Vought, the acting head of the Office of Management and Budget, Robert Blair, the senior adviser to Mulvaney, and Mark Paoletta, the budget office's top lawyer were the main group of officials responsible for executing a secret effort "to bring pressure on a country [Trump] viewed with suspicion, if not disdain," the Times wrote.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald J. Trump participates in a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Thursday, June 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Early in Trump's inquiry about withholding funds, Blair told Mulvaney "that it would be possible, but not pretty" to block the aid package, The Times reported, and wrote in an email that the administration should "expect Congress to become unhinged" if the White House tried to pull back spending that was approved in Congress.

Blair also reportedly warned that the move might pile on to Trump's pro-Russia image, which has popped up in impeachment proceedings as a concern across the administration after Trump reportedly credited a debunked conspiracy theory for disliking Ukraine.

The Times reported that Vought had grown used to addressing unusual requests from Trump that had little to do with formal policy research by the time he identified an article by conservative outlet the Washington Examiner, which said that American security aid would total $1.5 billion between this year and 2014, as the trigger for Trump's request.

Divisions within the administration hardened as more reports surfaced over the aid block, evidenced by actions like then-national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with the president to privately urge him to release the funding, according to the Times.

Blair, who has since been elevated to special representative for international telecommunications policy, and Vought could become more prominent figures in the upcoming impeachment proceedings set to take place in the Republican-majority Senate, which will hold a trial and most likely acquit the president.

However, Democratic lawmakers have identified prominent officials who were instrumental in pushing the aid block, which created deep tensions within the administration's budget and military departments, the Times reports.

Mark Sandy was the only OMB official to testify in the impeachment inquiry and he identified Mike Duffey, Trump's appointed associate director for national security programs in the Office of Management and Budget, as having abruptly taken over authority in signing off on documents that concerned aid for Ukraine, which he said made his staff "surprised" and "concerned."

Like Duffey, Vought and Blair were subpoenaed for testimony but defied the orders.

Republican lawmakers have publicly called for a quick trial with no witnesses, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would follow cues from White House counsel.

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Trump's secret plan to pressure Ukraine reportedly pitted administration officials against each other - Business Insider

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Donald Trump Says He Hates New York ‘Even More Than I Should’ Because of Investigations – Newsweek

Posted: at 11:46 pm

President Donald Trump has slammed New York, city and state, for repeatedly investigating him, saying officials do it to make him "hate them even more than I should." Trump also laid into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, claiming the city and state are "falling apart" on his watch.

"So sad to see that New York City and State are falling apart," Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday. "All they want to do is investigate to make me hate them even more than I should. Governor Cuomo has lost control, and lost his mind. Very bad for the homeless and all!"

In an earlier tweet, he slammed Cuomo and his Californian counterpart, Governor Gavin Newsom, for allegedly failing to tackle "homeless problems."

"California and New York must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems. They are setting records! If their Governors can't handle the situation, which they should be able to do very easily, they must call and 'politely' ask for help. Would be so easy with competence!" the president wrote.

Trump has repeatedly attacked Cuomo and other New York officials as the state continues to pursue his tax returns and financial records. In a tweet last month, he blasted Cuomo along with New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, claiming they were causing his hometown's decline.

"So sad to see what is happening in New York where Governor Cuomo & Mayor DeBlasio are letting out 900 Criminals, some hardened & bad, onto the sidewalks of our rapidly declining, because of them, city," he wrote. "The Radical Left Dems are killing our cities. NYPD Commissioner is resigning!"

Donald Trump, his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and the Trump Foundation charity, were ordered in November by a New York State judge to pay a $2 million fine over the misuse of charity assets for personal, business and politcal gain, among other violations.

Earlier this month, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced that as well as the Trump Foundation being shut down, the president was forced to concede he had misused funds for political gain. She said the settlement money was distributed to eight charities.

James added that as part of the settlement, Trump's children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. had undergone mandatory training.

James is also investigating whether Trump exaggerated his wealth in order to obtain loans. The Associated Press reported in September that she issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank in March seeking loan applications and other records related to Trump real estate projects and his failed bid to buy the Buffalo Bills. James has been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is seeking Trump's tax returns as part of a criminal investigation of the president, the Trump Organization and the Trump family's real estate business.

The New York Times reported in September that Vance subpoenaed Trump and the Trump Organization seeking state and federal tax returns for the last eight years. It came shortly after an investigation was launched into the president's role in payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, who claimed she had an affair with Trump. Vance has been contacted for comment.

Cuomo said Trump's decision to declare residency in Florida earlier this year was a ploy to avoid disclosing his finances to New York officials. "There is a legal proceeding against the president from the Manhattan district attorney's office where they're trying to get him to turn over the taxes," Cuomo told MSNBC last month.

"My guess is he was advised by his lawyer that would help his case to not to release his taxes to the Manhattan district attorney if he could say he was no longer a resident of the state of New York."

The White House and Cuomo have been contacted for comment.

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Donald Trump Says He Hates New York 'Even More Than I Should' Because of Investigations - Newsweek

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Inside the Biggest 2020 Advertising War Against Trump – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:46 pm

WASHINGTON Hillary Clinton tried. So did 16 rival Republicans. And after hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on ads attacking Donald Trump in 2016, the results were the same: They never did much damage.

Now Michael R. Bloomberg is trying his way spending millions each week in an online advertising onslaught that is guided by polling and data that he and his advisers believe provide unique insight into the presidents vulnerabilities.

The effort, which is targeting seven battleground states where polls show Mr. Trump is likely to be competitive in November, is just one piece of an advertising campaign that is unrivaled in scope and scale. On Facebook and Google alone, where Mr. Bloomberg is most focused on attacking the president, he has spent $18 million on ads over the last month, according to Acronym, a digital messaging firm that works with Democrats.

That is on top of the $128 million the Bloomberg campaign has spent on television ads, according to Advertising Analytics, an independent firm, which projects that Mr. Bloomberg is likely to spend a combined $300 million to $400 million on advertising across all media before the Super Tuesday primaries in early March.

Those amounts dwarf the ad budgets of his rivals, and he is spending at a faster clip than past presidential campaigns as well. Mr. Bloomberg is also already spending more than the Trump campaign each week to reach voters online. And if the $400 million estimate holds, that would be about the same as what President Barack Obamas campaign spent on advertising over the course of the entire general election in 2012.

The ads amount to a huge bet by the Bloomberg campaign that there are enough Americans who are not too fixed in their opinions of Mr. Trump and can be swayed by the ads indictment of his conduct and character.

None of these assumptions are safe in a political environment that is increasingly bifurcated along partisan lines and where, for many voters, information from the other side is instantly suspect. But Mr. Bloombergs aides believe it is imperative to flood voters with attacks on the president before it is too late a lesson Republicans learned in 2016 when they initially spent most of their ad budgets during the primaries tearing into each other while ignoring Mr. Trump.

All this effort and all this money and none of it goes to help the one election that really matters? asks a man from Michigan in one new Bloomberg campaign ad, referring to the spending in the Democratic primary. The campaign plans to run the ad online in Super Tuesday primary states.

Another man featured in the ad bemoans the fact that the Trump campaign is so focused on Pennsylvania but that none of the Democrats seem to be. By the looks of it, hes trying to win Pennsylvania once again. Hes here all the time, the man says.

In swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that are likely to decide whether Mr. Trump gets re-elected, the presidents campaign and its allies have already been advertising on his behalf for more than a year. Mr. Bloombergs campaign is focusing its efforts there, hoping to erode Mr. Trumps standing.

Ive been telling anyone who will listen, Trump is winning, said Kevin Sheekey, the campaign manager for Mr. Bloomberg.

In interviews, Mr. Bloombergs top strategists described how they believe they can undermine Mr. Trumps standing with voters who are open to reconsidering their support for him. According to the campaigns data, this is somewhere between 10 percent to 15 percent of the people who voted for him in 2016.

Mr. Bloombergs aides say their data generally shows that these people tend to express disappointment about promises Mr. Trump has failed to keep on issues like rebuilding the nations infrastructure an especially potent concern in places like Michigan. In most states, they are upset with the presidents push to repeal the Affordable Care Act without putting forward a Republican alternative, which voters view as jeopardizing their health coverage. They view his response to several mass shootings during his term as lacking urgency and seriousness, particularly in the suburbs around Detroit and Philadelphia, the Bloomberg data shows.

And many of them report feelings of exasperation and exhaustion after three years of what seems like daily, head-spinning stories about Mr. Trump, his impulsivity, dysfunction inside his administration and partisan squabbling in Washington that has in some cases bled into their lives at home and work.

With the percentage of the electorate that is open to reconsidering, there is a tax on them that they want to eliminate and that tax is on their attention, said Gary Briggs, who last year left Facebook as its chief marketing officer to join Mr. Bloombergs company and is now advising his presidential campaign.

The messages that the Bloomberg campaign is using in ads on social media and other websites are tailored to this sense of exhaustion. Say no to chaos, says one that appeared on Facebook in North Carolina.

Another tweet. Another lie. Trump has tweeted thousands of false statements causing chaos and embarrassing our country, reads another, depicting a picture of a man covering his face in evident despair as he stands in what appears to be a soybean field. (Soybean farmers have been among the most affected by Mr. Trumps tariffs on Chinese goods.)

Others are more issue-specific and play to a notion that Bloomberg strategists say has tested well in their research: The president is looking out for the interests of big corporations and the wealthy despite promises to improve the lives of working-class Americans.

The seven states the Bloomberg campaign has chosen are some of the most competitive, like Wisconsin and Florida, and others where Democrats believe they can chip away at Republican dominance, like Texas and Arizona. Rounding out the list are Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The Trump campaign has responded aggressively to Mr. Bloombergs entry into the race, going so far as to bar reporters from Bloomberg News from its rallies and events because the outlet has said it would not conduct investigative reporting on Mr. Bloombergs rivals for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Trump has belittled the former mayor and dismissed him as a threat saying, Little Michael will fail.

Finding the most incisive way to attack a sitting president is extremely difficult for a variety of reasons. Not only does the president enjoy the power and platform of incumbency, but by and large Americans have already formed their views over the course of the first term.

Larry McCarthy, a Republican ad maker who wrote many of the super PAC ads that attempted to undercut President Barack Obamas popularity with swing voters in 2012, said he believes his ads were not as effective because many voters had already made a judgment about Obama.

That judgment, he said, was that a significant number of voters, in our data, did not like Obama policies but did not think he was a bad guy.

With Mr. Trump, the opposite is true. Polls show that, for instance, most Americans approve of his handling of the economy. But they consistently give him low job approval ratings, saying that they do not think he is honest.

And public polls further show he stands an even chance of winning many battleground states against a variety of the Democratic candidates, which the Bloomberg campaign said tracks with its internal data.

With the ads, the Bloomberg campaign is also walking a fine line between trying to undercut Mr. Trump and turning off voters who may not like the president but do not want to dwell on him.

There is a kind of anxiety that he creates, said Howard Wolfson, one of Mr. Bloombergs longtime top advisers, about Mr. Trump. This is real for people, he added, acknowledging the contradictory factors. Theres a bit of Leave us alone.

The campaign said that it had produced 160 versions of its ads on social media alone, reaching 15.5 million people in the first two weeks of December.

Michael Bloombergs fledgling campaign has now spent more on Google and YouTube in the past month than the Trump campaign has spent all year, Acronym said in a recent analysis of the race.

The ability to pour that much money into ads not only enables Mr. Bloombergs campaign to pump out millions of messages a week, it also allows for more precise targeting to individual groups of uncommitted voters whether thats women in the suburbs concerned about gun violence or more fiscally conservative people who are alarmed at the nations rapidly expanding deficit.

One of the most potentially significant impacts of the Bloomberg strategy, said Ken Goldstein, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and an expert in political advertising, could be how he is filling the void in places where pro-Trump ads are dominant.

In a new study Mr. Goldstein conducted with a group of other academics who specialize in political messaging, he said they found that in 2016 the lack of advertising from Mrs. Clintons campaign seemed to contribute to lower turnout among voters favorable to her. Democrats with a lower propensity of voting in Michigan and Wisconsin, the study found, were less likely to turn out in areas where Mr. Trump was investing heavily online but where Mrs. Clinton was not advertising.

The overall impact was modest, to be sure, Mr. Goldstein said. But Trumps margin of victory in Michigan and Wisconsin was also extremely modest.

In addition to the hard-hitting critiques of Mr. Trump and his leadership, Mr. Bloombergs ads are also designed to send a positive message about the former mayor that reaches Democrats in the primary. And it is those voters, no doubt, who need to be convinced first in order for Mr. Bloomberg to politically benefit from his huge investment in anti-Trump advertising.

Sometimes its easiest to define yourself by what you are not, said Todd Harris, a Republican messaging strategist who has worked on several presidential campaigns, most recently for Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. These ads, he said, are all about Mike Bloomberg introducing himself to primary voters as someone who dislikes Trump as much as they do.

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Inside the Biggest 2020 Advertising War Against Trump - The New York Times

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Trumps tariffs have backfired, according to a new government study – Vox.com

Posted: at 11:46 pm

President Donald Trump has promised throughout his presidency to revive American manufacturing by slapping punishing tariffs on foreign competition.

But a new study from the US Federal Reserve suggests that his efforts have backfired and that the manufacturing sector is worse off than it was before the president began his protectionist trade policy.

Economists Aaron Flaaen and Justin Pierce, who describe their study as as the first comprehensive estimates of the effect of recent tariffs on the US manufacturing sector, argue that the data shows that any benefits from protection from foreign competition have been more than canceled out by retaliatory tariffs from trading partners and an increase in the cost of components sourced from abroad.

As a result, US manufacturing has seen job losses and higher prices for consumers.

We find the impact from the traditional import protection channel is completely offset in the short-run by reduced competitiveness from retaliation and higher costs in downstream industries, the authors say.

The findings affirm predictions from trade economists across the political spectrum who have warned that Trumps tariffs were more likely to damage the US economy than help it particularly in a globalized economy, where any major departure from free trade norms comes with an array of costs.

The findings also directly contradict what Trump says the effects of the tariffs have been. Trump has argued that the U.S. is taking in massive amounts of money and has claimed Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the U.S.A. because of the Tariffs.

The study finds the tariffs he has imposed on things like steel, aluminum, and Chinese goods have not done this at all. Given Trumps adversarial relationship with the Federal Reserve, it seems unlikely the president will be swayed by the work of his experts, meaning the study probably will not alter his calculus on trade policy.

The new Federal Reserve study compared how manufacturing industries benefited from tariffs (border taxes on imports) to how much of a hit they took from a rise in imported input cost (the cost US manufacturers pay for foreign-made components and materials) and retaliatory tariffs.

An example of a more expensive input cost for a US manufacturer would be a steel part for an American-made car sourced from China that has been made more expensive by tariffs on steel.

And the tariffs cut the other way as well: China is one of many countries that have slapped tariffs on US products in retaliation for American tariffs on foreign products. That tit-for-tat process which can escalate continuously is the central dynamic of a trade war.

The new study found that the industries that were hardest hit and made less competitive by retaliatory tariffs include automakers and producers of iron and steel; aluminum sheet; leather goods; and magnetic and optical media.

The study also found that producers of aluminum sheets, steel products, transportation equipment, boilers, and household appliances were among those industries whose consumer prices went up the most after tariffs went into effect.

Higher consumer prices make products less competitive on the market. So if Trumps aim with a tariff is to give US products an advantage, that aim is undermined by manufacturers having to raise prices because it costs more to make what they sell.

Theres also evidence that other sectors, like the agriculture industry, are suffering due to retaliatory tariffs from the USs trading partners. Trading partners will often deliberately target US exports that they know are produced by politically powerful economic players in order to maximize domestic political pressure on the government. For instance, some US agricultural goods particularly those made in states Trump will rely on in 2020 have really taken a serious hit, as Voxs Emily Stewart explained in an analysis of tariff blowback last year:

China, Mexico, and Canada have responded to the USs measures with taxes on American soybeans, dairy, pork, apples, and potatoes, among other products. Prices for soybeans have dropped to a 10-year low, and soybean exporters rushed to get their product out of the country earlier this year ahead of the impending trade war.

Trumps trade tactics, effectively, have necessitated a $12 billion farmer bailout.

The authors of the new study note that the long-term effects of the tariffs are not yet known. But, as of now, the evidence indicates that the tariffs have not served the manufacturing sector the way Trump has promised.


Trumps tariffs have backfired, according to a new government study - Vox.com

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A Gangster in the White House – The Atlantic

Posted: at 11:46 pm

While the presumed whistle-blower reportedly remains employed by the government, he is also reportedly subject to regular death threats, including at least implicit threat by Trump himself. Trump was recorded in September telling U.S. diplomats in New York: Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the callheard something and decided that he or she, or whoever the hell they sawtheyre almost a spy. I want to know whos the person, whos the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? Because thats close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.

Trumps tweeting in the past two days was so frenzied and the sources quoted were so bizarreincluding at least four accounts devoted to the Pizzagate-adjacent conspiracy theory QAnon, as well as one that describes former President Barack Obama as Satans Muslim scumas to renew doubts about the presidents mental stability. But Trumps long reticence about outright naming the presumed whistle-blower suggests that he remained sufficiently tethered to reality to hear and heed a lawyers advice. He disregarded that advice in full awareness that he was disregarding it. The usual excuse for Trumps online abusivenesshes counterpunchingamounts in this case not to a defense but to an indictment: Counterpunching literally means retaliating, and retaliation is what is forbidden by federal law.

The presumed whistle-blowers personal remedy for the presidents misconduct is a private lawsuit for monetary damages against the federal government. Its hard to see how such a lawsuit would do anybody any good. The presumed whistle-blower still draws a salary, and may not have suffered any material costs at all. The presumed whistle-blowers ultimate compensation for this ordeal should be a future place of honor in the service of the country.

In the meantime, though, the country is left once again with the problem of a president who refuses to obey the law. Trump is organizing from the White House a conspiracy to revenge himself on the person who first alerted the country that Trump was extorting Ukraine to help his reelection: more lawbreaking to punish the revelation of past lawbreaking. Impeaching a president whose party holds a majority in the Senate obviously presents many grave practical difficulties. But Trumps post-Christmas mania confirms House Speaker Nancy Pelosis prediction that Trump would impeach himself.

Donald Trump will not be bound by any rule, even after he has been caught. He is unrepentant and determined to break the rules againin part by punishing those who try to enforce them. He is a president with the mind of a gangster, and as long as he is in office, he will head a gangster White House.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.


A Gangster in the White House - The Atlantic

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Donald Trump Is a Keynesian – Mother Jones

Posted: at 11:46 pm

At the Washington Post, Jeff Stein summarizes something thats been obvious for a while. President Trumps economic policy is basically a lefty one:

From trade to spending, from the Federal Reserve to paid parental leave, Trump has embraced policy changes that historically are more in line with the approach of Democrats establishing a forceful role for government in setting the terms of the economy than of Republicans.

.On trade, Trump has reached a phase one trade deal with China that reportedly includes promises to buy far more in U.S. exports. He has completed a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada that some liberals are cheering for labor protections and pharmaceutical policies. Trump co-opted a demand from the left to urge the Fed to cut interest rates despite the relatively strong economy, a position the central bank ultimately adopted after seeing signs the economic expansion might waver.

The president has blown away traditional GOP concerns over the rising federal deficit, cutting bipartisan deals to expand government spending and even extend a new paid-leave benefit to the federal workforce. He unilaterally implemented a farm bailout that could prove more expensive than the auto bailout was a decade ago a move that conservatives had criticized as wasting taxpayer dollars.

Not everything Trump has done is out of the lefty playbook. Progressives favor trade deals with stronger labor and environmental protections, for example, but they dont generally favor massive trade wars that are mostly aimed at reducing trade deficits. At the same time, conservatives dont favor massive trade wars either. For the most part, Trumps trade policy is purely born out of his own id.

As for the other things, Trump isnt adopting them because theyre progressive. Hes adopting them for the same reason that conservatives often adopt them: they work, and he wants the economy to be in good shape for his reelection. Republicans havent objected very much because, despite their constant jeremiads about deficits and big government and bailouts, they too know perfectly well that this stuff works. This understanding wont last into the next Democratic administration, of course, but the Trump presidency is basically the final and most abject admission by conservatives that neo-Keynesian economic policy is mostly correct.

But its been a long time since they seriously believed anything else anyway. They tried out supply-side economics during the Reagan era and discovered that it was a great campaign tool but it didnt really work as economic policy. Since then theyve retained rhetorical allegiance to Arthur Laffers famous napkin, but in real life theres nothing left of it in conservative circles except for its usefulness as a pretext for passing tax cuts for their main constituents: corporations and the rich.

In other words, we are all Keynesians now. Still.

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Donald Trump Is a Keynesian - Mother Jones

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Yang hits Democratic Party for ‘acting like Donald Trump is the cause of all of our problems’ – Washington Examiner

Posted: at 11:46 pm

Andrew Yang ripped the Democratic Party for focusing on President Trump rather than the issues he believes are key to winning the 2020 election.

Yang, 44, claimed that Democrats lost to Trump in 2016 because they did not pay attention to the declining employment opportunities in swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. During an interview on ABCs This Week, he urged his party to stop worrying about Trump and start focusing on issues that voters care about in swing states.

Its clear the reason Donald Trump is our president is that we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs that were primarily based in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Iowa the swing states he needed to win. And what we did to those jobs were now going to do to the retail jobs, the call center jobs, the fast-food jobs, and eventually the truck driver jobs, he said. We need a way forward for all Americans independent of your political affiliation.

Yang noted that Americans have reported high levels of financial stress because of personal debt burdens, which are mirrored in an increase in drug overdoses and suicides. He claimed these issues must be addressed by candidates if they want to win in 2020.

The Democratic Party is acting like Donald Trump is a cause of all of our problems. Hes a symptom, and we need to cure the underlying disease, the entrepreneur said.

Yang has proposed a universal basic income of $1,000 to all Americans, regardless of personal wealth. His message has resonated well enough to earn him one of seven spots on the December debate stage and a RealClearPolitics polling average of 3.6% nationwide.

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Yang hits Democratic Party for 'acting like Donald Trump is the cause of all of our problems' - Washington Examiner

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Is This an Authentic Photograph of President Trump? – Snopes.com

Posted: at 11:46 pm

In December 2019, we received multiple inquiries from readers about a widely-shared photograph of U.S. President Donald Trump which appeared to show him with a somewhat unusual color gradient along the side of his face, an artifact some observers attributed to the uneven application of spray tan or makeup.

On Dec. 21, for example, the left-leaning website The Political Flare published an article about the picture under the headline Trump Had a Severe Makeup Mishap at [White House] Christmas Party and Hes Now and Absolute Laughing Stock:

Trump may ethnically identify as white, but his skin is categorically and scathingly portrayed as orange The official White House position on the issue, a senior administration official told the New York Times on the condition of anonymity, is that Trumps tawny tincture is the result of good genes But at a recent Christmas party, Trump showed an obvious makeup line that answered all questionsthe dude is wearing makeup, and Twitter had an absolute field day

The left-leaning Democratic Underground website followed suit, republishing The Political Flares article in a blog post using the headline Well, So Much for the [Bullshit] White House Good Genes Theory.

The photograph in question was also shared in multiple, often unflattering social media Twitter posts:

On Dec. 21, Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition political action committee, posted a cropped version of the image which showed only Trumps face:

The man shown to Trumps left in the photograph was Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. On the evening of Dec. 12, Fleischmann (or a member of his team) posted the photograph to both his Twitter and Facebook accounts:

The photograph appears to have been snapped at the White House Congressional Ball, which took place on the evening of Dec. 12, as we could find no earlier instance of the photograph other than those posted online by Fleischmann on that date. The image appears to be authentic, since Fleischmann is a strong supporter of Trumps, and it seems unlikely he would arrange for the image to be digitally altered before publication so as to create the false appearance of a non-existent skin tone demarcation on the presidents face.

However, we cannot rule out the possibility, however unlikely, that either Fleischmann or a member of his staff for whatever reason arranged for the photograph to be digitally manipulated, or that the photograph was not originally posted by the Congressman, that he or his staff found the image posted elsewhere after it was edited by a third party, and that they subsequently reposted it. The original post could have been deleted, leaving the impression that Fleischmann was the original poster.

Since we cant rule out the possibility that Fleischmann or his team either digitally altered the photograph or reposted an already-altered version, we are issuing a verdict of Unproven regarding the authenticity of the image.

Its worth noting that any possible digital alteration need not have been malicious. Various smartphones and apps feature editing software that allows users to apply filters or color schemes to photographs, modifications which can artificially change the appearance of images.

Its also possible that the photograph was not edited but that the angle from which it was taken, perhaps in combination with the lighting in that part of the room, contributed to exaggerating a color gradient on Trumps face which was, in reality, much more subtle. Several other photographs of the president from that same event do not exhibit him with the same stark demarcation in skin tone, although they do show the opposite side of his face:

We made repeated attempts to seek clarification from Fleischmanns spokesperson, but unfortunately we did not receive a response in time for publication. If we receive information which clarifies the photographs origins and rules out the possibility that the Congressmans staff either digitally altered the photograph or posted an already-altered image, we will update this fact check accordingly.

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Is This an Authentic Photograph of President Trump? - Snopes.com

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What Will It Take to Beat Donald Trump? – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:46 pm

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both campaigned for, and won, the White House on the watchword hope. What watchword will it take for a Democrat to win this time?

My suggestion: soap.

Nearly three years into Donald Trumps presidency, America needs a hard scrub and a deep cleanse. It needs to wash out the grime and grease of an administration that every day does something to make the country feel soiled.

Soiled by a president who, Castro-like, delivered a two-hour rant at a rally in Michigan the night he was impeached. Who described his shakedown of Ukraine as perfect. Who extolled the worlds cruelest tyrant as someone who wrote me beautiful letters. We fell in love. Who abandoned vulnerable allies in Syria, then opted to maintain troops in the country only for oil. Who, barely a year before the El Paso massacre, demonized illegal immigrants who pour into and infest our Country.

The list goes on, and most everyone feels it. In June, the Pew Research Center published a survey on how the country sees the state of public discourse. The most striking finding: A 59 percent majority of Republicans and Republican leaners say they often or sometimes feel concerned by what Trump says. About half also say they are at least sometimes embarrassed (53 percent) and confused (47 percent) by Trumps statements.

Whats true of Republicans is far more so of the rest of the United States. Pew found that overwhelming majorities of Americans were concerned (76 percent), confused (70 percent), embarrassed (69 percent), angry (65 percent), insulted (62 percent) and frightened (56 percent) by the things Trump says.

These numbers should devastate Trumps chances of re-election. They dont, for three reasons.

First, 76 percent of Americans rate economic conditions positively, up from 48 percent at the time of Trumps election. Second, the progressive lefts values seem increasingly hostile to mainstream ones, as suggested by the titanic row over J.K. Rowlings recent tweet defending a woman who was fired over her outspoken views on transgenderism. Third, the more the left rages about Trump and predicts nothing but catastrophe and conspiracy from him, the more out of touch it seems when the catastrophes dont happen and the conspiracy theories come up short.

No wonder Trumps average approval ratings have steadily ticked up since the end of October. In the view of middle-of-the-road America, the president may be bad, but hes nowhere near as bad as his critics say.

In that same view, while Trumps critics might be partly right about him, theyre a lot less right than they believe. In a contest between the unapologetic jerk in the White House and the self-styled saints seeking to unseat him, the jerk might just win.

How to avoid that outcome?

The most obvious point is not to promise a wrenching overhaul of the economy when it shows no signs of needing such an overhaul. There are plenty of serious long-term risks to our prosperity, including a declining birthrate, national debt north of $23 trillion, the erosion of the global free-trade consensus, threats to the political independence of the Federal Reserve, and the popularization of preposterous economic notions such as Modern Monetary Theory.

But anyone who thinks blowout government spending, partly financed by an unconstitutional and ineffective wealth tax, is going to be an electoral winner should look at the fate of Britains hapless Jeremy Corbyn.

What would work? Smart infrastructure spending. New taxes on carbon offset by tax cuts on income and saving. Modest increases in taxes on the wealthy matched to the promise of a balanced budget.

What these proposals lack in progressive ambition, they make up in political plausibility and the inherent appeal of modesty. They also defeat Trumps most potent re-election argument, which is that, no matter who opposes him, hes running against the crazy left.

Hence the second point. Too much of todays left is too busy pointing out the ugliness of the Trumpian right to notice its own ugliness: its censoriousness, nastiness and complacent self-righteousness. But millions of ordinary Americans see it, and they wont vote for a candidate who emboldens and empowers woke culture. The Democrat who breaks with that culture, as Clinton did in 1992 over Sister Souljah and Obama did in October over cancel culture, is the one likeliest to beat Trump.

Finally, the winning Democrat will need to make Trumps presidency seem insignificant rather than monumental an unsightly pimple on our long republican experiment, not a fatal cancer within it. Mike Bloomberg has the financial wherewithal to make Trumps wealth seem nearly trivial. Joe Biden has the life experience to make Trumps attacks seem petty. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have the rhetorical skills to turn Trumps taunts against him.

As with most bullies, the key to beating Trump is to treat him as the nonentity he fundamentally is. Wouldnt it be something if his political opponents and obsessed media critics resolved, for 2020, to talk about him a little less and past him a lot more?

When your goal is to wash your hands of something bad, you dont need a sword. Soap will do.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Wed like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And heres our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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What Will It Take to Beat Donald Trump? - The New York Times

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