A Monument To Stupidity

Published / by Stephen

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In a press conference today Gov. Gaven Newsom said that California is planning to sue the Trump administration over its declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.

To view the news conference go to this Fox News video. Newson lays out the real issues on the southern border and describes how wasting money on the “border wall” will make the problems worse not better.

The Los Angles Times reported on the press conference. The LA Times article has great quotes.  Here are a few:

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that California is planning to sue the Trump administration over its declaration of a national emergency on the southern border with Mexico, delivering on a promise state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra made last week “to reject this foolish proposal in court the moment it touches the ground.”

Newsom and Becerra announced they are developing plans for the legal action at a Capitol news conference just hours after President Trump declared a national emergency in an attempt to divert up to $6.6 billion from other projects, including military construction jobs, to build or reinforce as many as 234 miles of border barriers.

Fortunately, Donald Trump is not the last word,” Newsom said. “The courts will be the last word.”

Newsom called the wall “a vanity project, a monument to stupidity,” and said the real emergency is the wildfire disaster that needs federal funds.

“No other state is going to be impacted by this declaration of emergency more than the state of California,” the governor said.

Becerra said attorneys are reviewing the declaration and will develop the legal argument to take to court in the near future.

In his Spanish-language response to the president’s State of the Union address last week, Becerra said that he was prepared to go to court. Newsom and Becerra repeated their warning of legal action on Thursday, saying in a joint statement that “the President’s ‘national emergency’ is nothing more than a fabrication while real emergencies are awaiting his action. If the President tries to use a made up emergency to pay for his border wall, then California will see him in court.”



State Of Union – Fact Checks

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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From NYT’s Fact Checks:

The Economy (score: 2 true, 2 false, 1 misleading)

  • “The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world.”
  • “We recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods — and now our Treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars.”
    True but:  Technically, that money is paid by Americans who bring the goods across the border, and it is often passed on to American consumers in the form of higher prices.
  • “My administration has cut more regulations in a short period of time than any other administration during its entire tenure.”
  • Wages were “growing for blue-collar workers, who I promised to fight for. They are growing faster than anyone thought possible.”
  • “More people are working now than at any time in our history.”
    Misleading:  it is not because of the president’s policies. It is because more people than ever live in the United States.

Immigration (score: 0 true, 1 false, 1 misleading, 2 exaggerted)

  • “The border city of El Paso, Tex., used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.”
    False: El Paso was never one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, and crime has been declining in cities across the country — not just El Paso
  • “San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in our country. In response, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.”
    Misleading: Border apprehensions decreased by 91 percent in the San Diego sector between the 1994 fiscal year, right after the original border fencing was completed, to the 2018 fiscal year. But, according to the Congressional Research Service, that fence alone “did not have a discernible impact” on the number of immigrants crossing the border into the United States illegally.
  • “As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States.”
    Exaggerated:  …many in the caravan have said they plan to remain in Mexico, thanks in part to policies put in place by the new Mexican government.
  • “I hope you can pass the U.S.M.C.A. into law, so we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with the four beautiful words: Made in the U.S.A.”

Foreign policy (score: 1 true, 1 misleading, 1 no supporting evidence )

  • “We condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.”
    Misleading: …analysts say that corruption, the lack of rule of law and the absence of democracy — all the hallmarks of a dictatorship — have played just as big or larger roles.
  • “If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea.”
    No evidence to support this.

Abortion (score: 0 true, 1 false, 1 misleading)

  • “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.”
    Misleading. The new law ensures a woman’s right to an abortion in New York if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. It does not broadly allow abortions until shortly before birth, as Mr. Trump suggested. Instead, it will allow for an abortion after 24 weeks to protect the mother’s health or if the fetus is not viable. Under the prior law, abortions were allowed after 24 weeks only if the woman’s life was in jeopardy.
  • “We had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.”
    False: In an interview last month, Gov. Ralph Northam said that he supported a late-term abortion bill that would loosen restrictions on the procedure, and allow women to consult with a doctor on an abortion up to, but not including, the time of birth.The governor, a pediatric neurologist, also talked about some of the dangerous medical emergencies that pregnant women could face, such as carrying a nonviable fetus. He said that in such a case, the mother would deliver the infant and then, “the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” While Mr. Northam was talking about an end-of-life care discussion in the case of a child that would not live, Republicans seized on his remarks as evidence that Mr. Northam supported killing babies after their birth.

(Total score: 3 true, 4 false 4 misleading, 2 exaggerated, 1 no supporting evidence)

Curious about the accuracy of a claim? Email factcheck@nytimes.com

“Presidential Untruths”

Published / by Stephen

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One of the better ideas I have heard for exposing Trump’s Lies – from the San Francisco Chronicle, Letters, January 31, 2019:

Find the lies
The president simply cannot resist telling lies about nearly everything; he either believes it or does it to stay in the news or both. I suggest the newspaper relegate such stories to an inner section under “Presidential Untruths,” stating the item, the rebuttal and where to find out factual information on the statement.

This will remove his idiocy from the spotlight and enumerate his lies, while still covering a presidential communication.
Steven Tracy, Davis

We Have a Second Chance – Let’s Not Blow It

Published / by Stephen

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A NYT’s Opinion by Frank Bruni:

Selected Items:

“Pocahontas” won’t be lonely for long.

As other Democrats join Elizabeth Warren in the contest for the party’s presidential nomination, President Trump will assign them their own nicknames, different from hers but just as derisive. There’s no doubt.

But how much heed will we in the media pay to this stupidity? Will we sprint to Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker or Mike Bloomberg for a reaction to what Trump just called one of them and then rush back to him for his response to that response? Or will we note Trump’s latest nonsense only briefly and pivot to matters more consequential?

That’s a specific question but also an overarching one — about the degree to which we’ll let him set the terms of the 2020 presidential campaign, about our appetite for antics versus substance, and about whether we’ll repeat the mistakes that we made in 2016 and continued to make during the first stages of his presidency. There were plenty

Read on …

Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments

Published / by Stephen

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Halfway through Donald Trump’s term in the Oval Office, The Atlantic has cataloged 50 norm-shattering moments from his presidency, analyzed by 50 Atlantic writers and contributors. This project, titled Unthinkable, ranks the incidents—from the outlandish to the dangerous—that would have been considered improbable during any prior administration, of either party

Donald Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments

Jeffrey Goldberg Editor in chief of The Atlantic

Trump’s Five Craziest Arguments About the Shutdown

Published / by Stephen

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Oh, and about that wall. Here’s a financing plan that’s a win-win.

Brought to you by Nicholas Kristof

Income Inequality – Charts & Policy

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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Top Charts of 2018, Economic Policy Institute – Twelve charts that show how policy could reduce inequality—but instead is making it worse. December 20, 2018.

  1. The upward march of inequality is firmly reestablishing itself
  2. Depending on the state, the average top 1-percenter makes between 12.7 and 44.4 times more each year than the average bottom 99-percenter
  3. The Fed can look to the late 1990s for guidance on how to raise wages
  4. Attacks on unions have hurt their ability to hold inequality in check
  5. An attack on public-sector unions is an attack on women, teachers, and African Americans

Read on: Top Charts of 2018…

The Cats Are Going To Pay For It?

Published / by Stephen

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Thanks to Me Me:

Trump’s Understanding of Tax & Tarrif Policy

Published / by Stephen

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A Krugman Lesson on Tax Policy

Krugman on what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows about tax policy? (a lot) versus what Trump knows? (not much)

A Comment on Trump’s Twisted Tariff Logic

Trump claims Chinese tariffs have brought in millions. Wrong. A tariff on imports is a Tax. The Tax is paid by companies importing Chinese products. These taxes are at least partially passed to consumers of the products. If it looks like a duck, swims a duck, and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck.

Trump Isn’t The Only Problem – Part 4

Published / by Stephen

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More from Robert Reich:

Why We Must Get Big Money Out of Politics

The most important thing we must do to save our democracy is get big money out of politics. It’s a prerequisite to accomplishing everything else.

Today, big money continues to corrupt American politics – creating a vicious cycle that funnels more wealth and power to those at the top and eroding our democracy.

In the 2018 midterm elections, wealthy donors and Super-PACs poured millions into the campaigns of the same lawmakers who voted to pass the 2017 tax cuts, which gave them huge windfalls.

Consider conservative donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, whose casino business received an estimated $700 million windfall, thanks to Trump and Republicans’ tax cuts. The couple then used some of this extra cash to plow more than $113 million dollars into the 2018 election, breaking the record for political contributions by a single household.

That’s not a bad return on investment – for them.

All told, almost 40 percent of total contributions in the 2018 midterms came from people who donated $10,000 or more. Yet these mega-donors comprise a tiny 0.01 percent of the U.S. population.

Read on