Sometimes It Takes More Than Looks

harding2

Warren G. Harding is widely regarded as the worst President ever to occupy the office.

Many say he won the election because he “looked like a President”.   This was the tail end of an era where those who LOOKED like gentlemen were assumed to possess all of qualities and capabilities associated with gentlemen.  While Harding was popular during his term, the scandals which emerged after he left office relegated him to his status as a failed president.

We are now in an era of billionaires.  Those who appear to possess great wealth are assumed to possess special qualities and talents that set them apart.  Trump’s election is an example of the trust that some voters have in a wealthy person.  They elected a man whose only qualification to occupy the most powerful political office in the country is that he appears to be wealthy.

I think it is fair to say that in the first month and half, the Trump administration is struggling to find its way.  Even though it is early, there are seeds of scandal that are already blooming.

Russia

The White House has been working furiously to discredit a story that the NYT broke regarding contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

In a now famous interview with Chuck Todd of Meet the Press, Reince Priebus disputed the story alternately calling it “grossly overstated”, “inaccurate”, “totally wrong”, “total baloney”, and “garbage”.  He claimed that people in both the intelligence community and the congress confirmed this description.  The next leak was that Priebus asked the FBI to go on the record with what they had told him.  The FBI refused because the request would politicize the FBI even more than it is now.  Then Priebus assembled a group of intelligence community members and Republican members of Congress to rebut the story, but only anonymously.  This is particular ironic since Priebus (and later Trump) used anonymity of the NYT sources to question the accuracy of the whole article.

It is this sort of fake news stuff that is enormously important that, when you get a front page story of The New York Times without a single source on the record saying that your campaign had constant contacts– they didn’t say one contact. They didn’t say two contacts. It doesn’t matter. We have not been informed of even that. But to say, “Constant contact?”

In this process, however, the two points that the White House objected to in the story became clear.

  1. The story said “repeated contacts”. The White House has built a straw man by claiming that the story said “constant contacts”.
  2. The story said the contacts were with senior Russian Intelligence officials. We now know that the White House is trying to claim that the Russian conversations that DID occur were not with senior Russian Intelligence officials.

“NBC News was told by law enforcement and intelligence sources that the NYT story WAS wrong — in its use of the term ‘Russian intelligence officials.’ Our sources say there were contacts with Russians, but that the US hasn’t confirmed they work for spy agencies. We were also told CNN’s description of Trump aides being in ‘constant touch’ with Russians was overstated. However, our sources did tell us that intelligence intercepts picked up contacts among Trump aides and Russians during the campaign.”

We find out today that new AG Jeff Sessions was one of the people who DID have at least two conversations with a Russian official during the campaign and neglected to share that information during his confirmation hearing.

Testifying under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was asked in January by Al Franken what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign. “I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

There’s more: Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) sent Sessions an additional written question: “Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” The AG’s one-word answer could not have been more categorical: “No.”

Sessions response was that his conversations with the Russian ambassador did not involve the campaign, so he felt he answered the questions accurately.  He has also agreed to recuse himself from future congressional investigations.

Here’s the scope of this potential scandal.

There WERE conversations between the Trump campaign and Russians during the election.  Those conversations included Jeff Sessions, though he claims that their conversations didn’t touch on the campaign.  Sessions clearly had an opportunity to disclose his conversations during his confirmation hearings and chose not to.

The White House is disputing that these conversations (Sessions and others) were “constant”, that they were with Russians who worked for Russia’s various intelligence agencies, and that they were about the 2016 election.  Of course this begs the question of why the FBI or other intelligence agencies were listening to the phone conversations of “regular” Russians, but the larger issue is the nature of the White House’s attempt to bury this story.

The risk to the Trump administration is that their efforts to bury the story will ultimately be more damaging than the story itself.  Flynn was the first victim.  Fired for lying supposedly lying to the President. The second victim could be Sessions.  He could be on the hook for perjury.  The cover-up is always more dangerous than the story itself, but in this case the story about a foreign power intervening in a US election is unprecedented.

Yemen

The father of the Navy Seal that died in last month’s operation refused to meet with the President.  He is blaming his son’s death on a poorly planned and poorly executed operation.  He has demanded an investigation.

“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why?” said Mr. Owens, who told The Herald that he had not voted for Mr. Trump. “For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display“  “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation.”

“The government owes my son an investigation,” the father, William Owens, told The Miami Herald.

One of Trump’s campaign positions was that Clinton failed in her responsibilities to protect the lives of Americans in the Benghazi attack.  Trump criticized the Clinton investigations.  He claimed she was guilty even though the investigations produced no evidence to support that claim.  The Trump campaign produced an ad quoting some of the family members of those who were killed in the attack.  Several of them spoke at the Republican National Convention.  One was in the audience at the third debate.

Ryan Owens’ wife was at Trump’s first speech to Congress.  Trump recognized her for her sacrifice.  But he has also failed to take any responsibility for the failed mission.  He has instead blamed both the military and the Obama administration.

Here’s the scope of this potential scandal.

Will there be as thorough an investigation into this failed raid as Trump called for in Benghazi?

Will Ryan Owens’ father be as celebrated in his grief  as Ryan Owens’ widow?

Will the White House drop their claim that the raid yielded valuable intelligence – a claim that has since been disputed by intelligence officials?

The risk to the Trump administration will be similar to Russia.  If they oppose or interfere with an independent investigation, they will be putting the administration in jeopardy.  If the investigations reveal that decisions on either the raid or the speech were mainly political, they will lose the trust of voters.

Summary 

As these and other scandals continue to pop up and unfold, the façade of media bias as the root cause for Trump’s troubles will fall away.  What will be left are the tawdry facts that the Trump campaign DID have conversations with the Russians about the election. And the Trump administration DID approve a poorly planned, poorly executed mission that discovered no new information because there was political benefit to what appeared at the time to be an easy win.

The legacy of this administration will be similar to the business legacy of the President.  The claims of expertise and unique skill will all fail to produce any substance.  The bodies will stack up.  The collateral damage will mount.  The domestic and foreign mistakes will increase dissension and weaken our country.  At some point, enough people will realize that the only thing that Trump brought to this office was wealthy arrogance.  Once they realize that being President requires larger skill set, they will kick him out of office.  When they finally tire of his attempts to blame his failures on others, they will finally blame him for misleading them.  The fact, however, is that it was voters who misled themselves.  They assumed that wealth somehow qualified a person to be President.  Like Harding, voters will realize that wealth, just like looks, has little or nothing to do with competence or trustworthiness.

49 Responses to “Sometimes It Takes More Than Looks”

  1. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, Trump has again attempted to change the conversation regarding Russia. He is claiming that Democrats in general, and Schumer in particular, are hypocritical because many of them have relationships with Russians too.

    But that’s not the issue.

    The issue is that Russia was involved in an attempt to disrupt the election.

    There is evidence that members of Trump’s campaign (including Jeff Sessions) had conversations with Russians DURING the time that Russia was attempting to disrupt the election.

    The Trump campaign and administration have only themselves to blame. First, for denying that there were ANY conversations. Second, for blaming the press, Clinton, Obama, the FBI, the CIA, and pretty much anybody else they could find for FAKE NEWS – when in fact conversations DID occur.

    The BEST outcome would be a thorough investigation that documents all of the conversations and demonstrates that NONE of them were connected to the Russian efforts to undermine the election.

    The ONLY way to produce that outcome is with an independent investigator.

    The longer the Trump administration waits, the worse it will get. The harder they resist, the more likely that resistance will ultimately be what results in Trump’s impeachment rather than the original contact itself.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/03/03/the-web-of-relationships-between-team-trump-and-russia/?utm_term=.b3d5fc3c43dd

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW – As I predicted, the Trump White House has reneged on another of Trump’s promises to use American Steel in the Keystone Pipeline.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-03/despite-trump-pledge-no-requirement-for-u-s-steel-in-keystone

    That exec order just applies to new pipelines even though during the campaign he boasted that he would force the pipelines to use US Steel.

    During a Feb. 23 meeting with manufacturing CEOs at the White House, Trump told U.S. Steel Corp chief executive Mario Longhi that “the pipe is coming from the U.S.” for the Keystone project, as well as Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Dakota Access pipeline.

    “We put you heavy into the pipeline business because we approved, as you know, the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota,” Trump told Longhi. “But they have to buy — meaning, steel, so I’ll say U.S. Steel — but steel made in this country and pipelines made in this country.”

    Funniest thing that all this stuff gets announced late on Fridays. Why do you think that is?

  3. Keith says:

    Y.S) Trump’s election is an example of the trust that some voters have in a wealthy person. They elected a man whose only qualification to occupy the most powerful political office in the country is that he appears to be wealthy.

    MR) how many people are “some”

    As you know there are only three qualification to be President. 😀

    I’d say the reason Trump is president is more determined by who DIDNT vote for Mrs Clinton. African Americans in Detroit and Milwaukee. They vote she wins. Period. Then what corruption matters would we be investigating now? I think more people think this then you’d imagine. That’s may personal thought.

    So if he gets tax reform, re patriots billions, fixed or replaces the ACA, gets immigration reform, a little bank reform, goose the economy, tempt down ISIC, then he’s on Mount Rushmore. Obama had the same chance but couldn’t/wouldn’t. He also had a separate set of circumstances.

    Trump will negotiate. He is not a hard liner. He’ll just want to be an inch in his side of the line. Those are my personal beliefs and wishes.

  4. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Here’s politifact’s take on the Sessions confirmation hearings.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/mar/02/context-what-jeff-sessions-told-al-franken-about-m/

    They are right that perjury is difficult to prove, but you were the one, if I’m not mistaken, who tried to apply a much more narrow definition of perjury to Clinton. Curious what your take is on Sessions.

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Y.S) Trump’s election is an example of the trust that some voters have in a wealthy person. They elected a man whose only qualification to occupy the most powerful political office in the country is that he appears to be wealthy.

    MR) how many people are “some”

    As you know there are only three qualification to be President. 😀

    I guess a more precise description would have been that his only additional qualification beyond the constitutional ones was his claim of great wealth.

    I’d say the reason Trump is president is more determined by who DIDNT vote for Mrs Clinton. African Americans in Detroit and Milwaukee. They vote she wins. Period. Then what corruption matters would we be investigating now? I think more people think this then you’d imagine. That’s may personal thought.

    Not sure that there is much value in rehashing why the election turned out the way that it did. But happy to see that you are agreeing with the fact that roughly 70K people in three states effectively were the difference between a Trump presidency and a Clinton one. The fact is that Trump IS president and in less than a month in office he already is mired in two of the three scandals that I suggested would be required bring his presidency down.

    So if he gets tax reform, re patriots billions, fixed or replaces the ACA, gets immigration reform, a little bank reform, goose the economy, tempt down ISIC, then he’s on Mount Rushmore. Obama had the same chance but couldn’t/wouldn’t. He also had a separate set of circumstances.

    He hasn’t succeeded in passing ANY legislation so far. He is significantly behind Obama’s record at this point. If he cures cancer, brokers a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, and commercializes fusion power; he will win several Nobel prizes too.

    Just as this isn’t about Clinton, it isn’t about Obama. It is about the fundamental flaws in the person we elected as President. The arrogance of wealth combined with a deep deficit in government experience doom this presidency.

    Trump will negotiate. He is not a hard liner. He’ll just want to be an inch in his side of the line. Those are my personal beliefs and wishes.

    I know that you place great trust in his ability as a negotiator. The problem is that he has yet to demonstrate that his business “tool set” can translate to government. Instead he is making the classic set of “bunker mentality” mistakes that even much more experienced politicians make when confronted with a crisis.

    Here’s a good summary from The Hill.

    President Trump’s Russian troubles are multiplying — and even some Republicans are wondering if the White House can stop the problems from becoming a full-blown crisis.

    “I think they’ve handled it quite badly because they haven’t been forthcoming,” said Peter Wehner, who served as deputy director of speechwriting in President George W. Bush’s White House. “This is a classic case of drip-drip-drip, where they say certain things that are disproven as later facts are revealed.”

    Wehner is among those Republicans who have long been critical of Trump. But even some of the president’s GOP supporters are critical of the White House’s response to allegations of Russian meddling.

    A longtime Trump ally, granted anonymity to speak candidly, echoed Wehner’s “drip-drip-drip” description of the situation and complained, “They have handled this so poorly.”

    “Facts are stubborn things. Bad ones in particular. You can’t ignore them. Wish them away. Or deny them,” said Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel for President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Davis is a columnist for The Hill and an expert in crisis management with Washington law firm Davis Goldberg Galper.

    Davis said Trump could only bring the Russian travails to an end by observing the mantra of “tell it early, tell it all, tell it yourself.”

    “It’s coming out sooner or later. So you have no choice but to follow this advice and let the truth chips fall where they may,” he said.

    In the absence of such a house-cleaning, however, the danger for the Trump administration is that it gets damaged by a constant stream of stories. Even if no single one is devastating, the cumulative effect could corrode the president’s standing.

    More ominously, Wehner added that the ineffectiveness of the Trump White House in pushing back against stories related to Russia was stoking ever-greater suspicion.

    “The bigger question is less how they have handed it from a communications standpoint — which is poorly — but why they have felt the need to handle it the way that they have,” he said.

    “The reason, I suspect, is that there is quite a hot fire under the billows of smoke.”

    We are quickly moving from the situation where the response is going to be more damaging than the original act. Every day more and more information comes out which rebut the basic administration claim that there were NO contacts with the Russians. Trump’s instincts to hit back at his critics are working against him because the harder he fights to shift blame and claim hypocrisy, the worse his case gets.

    I feel no sympathy for him. He was the one who picked a fight with the media. Now they are doing their job, which is defending their position as a reliable source that speaks truth to power. He and his administration are also the ones who were unprepared for the transition. So they don’t have “their” people running the government. They are also the ones who have promised to “deconstruct the administrative state”. Might have been wise to hold off on that until you had the people in place to manage that reorganization because the current government appears to be leaking like a sieve. The result is that Trump’s version of what is going on in his administration is contradicted on almost a daily basis.

    Finally, Trump can’t keep his mouth shut AND seems unable to tell the truth. This isn’t negotiation. This is delusion. When Trump said that he hasn’t spoken to anyone in Russia in ten years, he’s lying. By his own account, he and Putin talked on the phone January 28. Trump famously took the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow in 2013. That was just FOUR years ago. That was also the period of time referenced in the famous “golden shower” dossier.

    As I’ve said, these scandals will damage his ability to govern and ultimately bring his administration down.

    This is all happening a lot faster than I thought it would. I figured that he would have to fumble the Obamacare replacement first before this facade of competency would start to crumble. We haven’t even started to deal with the public uproar that is waiting for that disaster.

    The drip-drip-drip on Russia will continue. There WILL be multiple investigations.

    There very well may be some investigations on the Yemen raid, which will also not go well for Trump.

    I don’t know what the third scandal will be, but it is out there and that will likely be the straw that breaks the camel’s back with regard to his job approval.

    It will be interesting to see if Trump ends up beating Harding to the top of the worst president ever list.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, now Trump is claiming that Obama bugged his phones and was attempting to disrupt the election.

    This is ridiculous on several levels.

    1. Obama can’t wiretap anybody. That’s the job of the FBI or local law enforcement. They have to go to judge and make their case in order to gain approval. If there were wiretaps, it was because some law enforcement agency had convinced a judge that there was some illegal activity going on.

    2. Trump is now the President. He has access to all the resources he needs to find out if he was under surveillance. If he has a case against the Obama administration for breaking the law, the proper way to go about it is to have the Justice Department announce an investigation. That’s not going to happen any more than the investigation that he promised to prove his claim of fraudulent voting.

    Instead this makes him look desperate, if not loony. That IS sad.

  7. Keith says:

    It was an unacceptable tweet this morning. There is no call for that. If he has Proof the Obama administration bugged this office then tweeting about it certainly is the thing to do. Present the evidence to the appropriate people. Unacceptable in every way. Zero defense from me on this.

    As to Sennator Sessions. It clear to me he is answering an ever narrowly defined question.

  8. Jeff Beamsley says:

    It was an unacceptable tweet this morning. There is no call for that. If he has Proof the Obama administration bugged this office then tweeting about it certainly is the thing to do. Present the evidence to the appropriate people. Unacceptable in every way. Zero defense from me on this.

    More evidence that the White House is struggling with their message. They no longer can say that nobody from their campaign ever talked with any Russians. But even admitting that there were conversations, after all of the denials, would likely support a broad investigation. Because if there WERE talks, but the White House claims that none of them were about the campaign, an investigation is required to exonerate them. This is NOT an innocent until proven guilty situation.

    What we know now is that Russian Ambassador Kislyak that both Flynn and Session spoke with is widely regarded as a top Russian spy master by the intelligence community. Talking with him wasn’t a sin. Withholding information about talking with him may prove as deadly to Sessions as it was to Flynn.

    We also know that Kushner was at at least one of the Flynn meetings. Gordon and Page from the Trump Campaign also met with Kislyak at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. Another security advisor, Walid Phares also met with Kislyak. Paul Manafort was fired during the campaign because of his close ties to Russia and Ukraine.

    What we don’t know yet is the nature of any of those conversations.

    We don’t know if there were any other conversations.

    We don’t know what Trump knew.

    We also know from our own intelligence community that the Russians were trying to damage Clinton. We don’t know if they did other things to specifically help Trump (like schedule first Wikileaks dump to happen at the same time as the Hollywood Reporter Trump tape broke).

    The White House is currently stuck in the drip-drip-drip torture of their own making. This will continue until they choose the change their tactics. The only viable change in tactics is to embrace an investigation. Trump is also going to have to put his presidency on the line. He will have his “I did not have sex with that woman” moment where he tells the American people that he and his campaign did not cooperate with Russian attempts to disrupt the campaign in any way. Then it will be up to the investigation to turn up evidence that they did. In the meantime, his administration will struggle to get anything else done because Republicans are going to be warry of getting too close to him in case he blows up.

    Just go look at what Clinton was able to get done legislatively during the Lewinsky investigation for an example of what will happen as soon as Trump admits that he can’t make this scandal go way.

    In the meantime there is still the Yemen issue.

    And as soon as the Russian investigations go forward in earnest, other stuff that has been hidden will also be revealed because those who have that information will be embolden to share it.

    Should be an interesting time.

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    So now Trump is calling for a congressional investigation into the Obama administrations activities before the election. The White House is threatening to hold their breathe until they turn blue until someone on Capital Hill stops talking about Russians and starting paying attention to what the Obama administration did.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/05/donald-trump-barack-obama/98774014/

    There probably WERE FISA court requests by the FBI based on the investigations that they conducted into Russian activities. But I’m not sure that Trump is going to benefit from the details of those requests being disclosed.

    In the meantime the drip-drip-drip of daily disclosures will continue.

    How long before Trump is forced to cave and make his public statement supporting investigations?

    The Lewinsky scandal broke on January 21, 1998. January 26, 1998 Clinton gave his “I did not have sex with that woman” speech. Clinton testifies before the Starr Grand Jury on August 17, 1998. September 24 1998 the House Judiciary Committee takes up a motion to impeach. Roughly nine months, but Starr was already in place because of the whitewater investigations.

    The Watergate scandal broke on June 20, 1972. May 17, 1973 Senate Watergate Investigative Hearings start. Oct 20, 1973 Nixon fires Richardson because he wouldn’t fire Cox. Bork fires Cox. Nov 17, 1973 Nixon give his “I’m not a crook” speech. May 19, 1974 impeachment hearings begin the House. Almost two years, but it took a year of drip-drip-drip to get the investigations started.

    The “Russian” clock started with the publication of the NYT story regarding Russian connections to the Trump campaign on Feb 14, 2017.

  10. Keith says:

    All these words and intensity on your part are pridictable. Bill Clinton meets on the tarmac with AG Lynch and crickets.

    One thing that is interesting is the American people are not turning on Trump.

    Again. Trumps tweet yesterday was absolutely u acceptable.

    As to Senator Sessions, was he at a “campaign meeting” with the Russian ambassador or at a meeting with 10 – 20 other ambassadors which was in the normal course of his ongoing duties as a senator. I have no idea. I’m just glad Sec Ross is calling for a higher minimum wage in Mexico and that Mexican officials have said NAFT might not be fair. How about you?

  11. Keith says:

    I’m also glad the equity markets have soared since Trump was elected. Have you any thoughts as to why?

  12. Keith says:

    Would you prefer a President Pence? What might that look like?

    Also the more Dems and liberals protest and make themselves look like 60’s protesters the worse it is for them. “Normal folks” simply don’t like it.

  13. Jeff Beamsley says:

    All these words and intensity on your part are pridictable. Bill Clinton meets on the tarmac with AG Lynch and crickets.

    First of all, I did say it was stupid. Neither denied the meeting. Lynch agreed that it was a mistake. It also caused Lynch to state that she would accept whatever the FBI recommended. The ONLY other potential outcome of that meeting might have been for Lynch to attempt to influence Comey on the outcome of the investigation, but there is NO proof from anyone that there was any attempt by Lynch to influence Comey’s investigation. Comey had every opportunity in his meetings with Congress to blame Lynch and he didn’t.

    Beyond that, however, I fail to see the similarity.

    The Trump campaign denied that anyone ever had any meetings with any Russians. Now we are finding that nearly EVERYONE who was anyone in the Trump campaign had meetings with Russians during the campaign. The Trump administration wants us to believe that none of them told Trump. Manafort was fired for his past documented relationships with Russians. Flynn was fired for lying to Trump about meetings he had with Kislyak. Session also seems to have withheld information about his meetings with Kislyak from the Trump administration AND the senate during his confirmation hearings.

    When you combine that with the fact that our security agencies have proof that the Russian DID attempt to damage the Clinton campaign, you HAVE to agree that this is WAY more serious and WAY different that a conversation between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on the tarmac because both of their planes happened to be in Phoenix at the same time.

    One thing that is interesting is the American people are not turning on Trump.

    Which American people are you talking about. Since we are using the RealClearPolitics average, 49% still disapprove of his performance compared with 45% who approve. Trump did get a bump in the polls of a couple of points because of his speech. Let’s see where they go over the next week or so as the drip-drip-drip continues.

    BTW. Here’s today’s drip. Comey has asked the Justice Department to refute Trump’s claim regarding wiretapping. It will be interesting to see how Sessions handles this since he has recused himself from participating the any of the investigations.

    As to Senator Sessions, was he at a “campaign meeting” with the Russian ambassador or at a meeting with 10 – 20 other ambassadors which was in the normal course of his ongoing duties as a senator. I have no idea.

    You can make whatever excuses you choose to make for him. The facts are that he didn’t tell the senate about it and supposedly he didn’t tell anyone at the White House about it either. This later fact is where danger lies because if the White House continues to assert that it didn’t know, and that is later proved false, the house of cards that has been built to protect Trump may come tumbling down. As I’ve said before, the coverup is way worse than the act. Sessions may have had a perfectly innocent conversation with Kislyak. The problem is that he didn’t act as though it was innocent, and neither did the White House.

    I’m just glad Sec Ross is calling for a higher minimum wage in Mexico and that Mexican officials have said NAFT might not be fair. How about you?

    I’ve already posted the fact that net immigration from Mexico has been negative for a while. More Mexicans are leaving rather than entering. There are a lot of reasons for that.

    I’ve also posted the fact that NAFTA is not the disaster that Trump claims it has been. The larger issue, however, is that Trump needs open trade and more workers to fulfill his promise to grow the economy. He and his supporters are engaged in magic thinking regarding his current plans. IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

  14. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I’m also glad the equity markets have soared since Trump was elected. Have you any thoughts as to why?

    You have yet to acknowledge the growth that market had under Obama as having anything to do with Obama’s economic program. Rather it was the result of cheap money.

    Well money is still cheap. The fed has signaled that it is going to raise rates, which sent two messages. First the economy is strong enough to raise interest rates, which sent the market up. Second, interest rates are going up which sent the market back down.

    When you are willing to acknowledge that the current bull market is at least in part the result of Obama’s economic policies, we can discuss what impact Trump may be having.

  15. Keith says:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/keystone-pipeline-wont-us-steel-despite-trump-pledge-235842294–finance.html

    Was never gonna fly because so much of it is already made. He more then likely didn’t know that. I’ve seen some of the piles. They’re enormous.

  16. Jeff Beamsley says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/27/heres-an-actual-good-poll-number-for-donald-trump/?utm_term=.9f8fdd06bb57

    I posted something from this article earlier.

    I think the summary is fairly accurate.

    The data also makes clear just how closely Trump’s chances at succeeding as president and/or winning a second term are tied to the idea that he is actually changing things. We are only a month into his presidency. But what happens after a year if Obamacare is still not repealed and replaced? Or the travel ban remains in legal limbo? Or the construction of the wall on our southern border doesn’t proceed at a brisk pace?

    Any one of those issues could derail Trump as the change agent. And if he loses that status, he’s in big trouble.

    So yes, Trump has to deliver in order to hold onto the 22% conditionals who support him now, but won’t if he doesn’t deliver.

    That’s why scandals are so dangerous for him. If he continues to be bogged down in scandal and low approval ratings, he won’t be able to provide the leadership the Republicans need to get past their own internal squabbles. Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare without a replacement are more concerned about their risks at home of failing to kill Obamacare than their risk of opposing Trump.

    Even if he manages to deliver on his promises, he still has the challenge of conflicting expectations from those 22% that I’ve already posted about. You can’t cut back on immigration and grow the economy without lots of stimulation. Lot’s of stimulation is going to spike inflation. You can’t satisfy part of this base that want’s Obamacare gone and the part who wants to keep it. Some of that 22% are going to be unhappy.

    It will be interesting.

  17. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Was never gonna fly because so much of it is already made. He more then likely didn’t know that. I’ve seen some of the piles. They’re enormous.

    He didn’t know that? You serious.

    So his excuse to steel workers is, “I’m sorry I didn’t realize they had already purchased their steel”. Isn’t he the guy who was going to force them to buy US Steel or they wouldn’t get their approval? Why did he approve the pipeline?

    This is just one example of MANY promises that he will find difficult to keep. How many more will he renege on before voters lose faith in him?

  18. Keith says:

    I believe I acknowledged the market performance under President Obama. Off memory. It reached 14,200 under Bush. President Obama started somewhere around 8,000. It fell to 6667. It got over 18,000 on President Obamas watch. I’m not sure what policy President Obama put in place to help it. The budget deal he didn’t make wasn’t good. He mostly stayed out of the way the last 4-6 years. THATS GOOD. Mostly cheap money with nowhere to go but the market. Look. I further then dividend paying utility stocks. Again my not complaining about President Obamas. Not at all. Our economy needed time to heal from the 30 year run up and the repeal of glass stegal leading to the melt down. Again, I’ll take the same performance again.

    What you should ask you’re self, maybe you have and I’ve yet to read your response, sorry if you did, is why the run up once Trump is President?

  19. Keith says:

    Your response above about Sessions is wrong. View the video I gave you above as to the complete question and his complete answer. I don’t have a problem with it based on what we know. Al Frankan ask about the “campaign” and Session answered it about the campaign. Not Senator Sessions. Did you meet with the Russians about THE CAMPAIN. In fact I agree he should requese himself..

    There is to date zero evidence. None.

  20. Jeff Beamsley says:

    One thing that is interesting is the American people are not turning on Trump.

    A little more detail on that.

    From a new CNN poll.

    About two-thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate contacts between Russians and Trump campaign associates, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, and 55% say they are at least somewhat concerned by reports that some connected to the Trump campaign had contact with suspected Russian operatives.

    His approval rate in this poll is 45%. So clearly some of those approve of his performance in office also think it is important for a special prosecutor to look into the ties with Russia. Just another tidbit about that difference. It is around 20% which lines up nicely with the percentage that we have been calling the conditionals. These are the folks who want to see Trump deliver on his promises. One of his promises was to clean up Washington corruption. They are clearly concerned that Trump himself may be corrupt. If that turns out to be the case, Trump’s job approval ratings among this group (as I predicted) will plummet.

  21. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I’m not sure what policy President Obama put in place to help it.

    I would say that saving the world from financial meltdown might have something to do with the stock market recovery too, but you seem willing to ignore that.

    The simple answer is that if there is a bull market when a new president is elected, it often runs up. Traders know this and so it is often a self fulfilling prophecy.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-trump-rally-stacks-up-to-other-postelection-stock-market-gains-2017-01-18

    Trump promised policies that would pump a lot more money into the economy. He also promised less regulation, which would also encourage more speculation.

    As I’ve said before, there are storm clouds on the horizon. If you want to give Trump some credit for this, that’s fine. But you will also have to hold him accountable when the crash comes – and it is coming.

    When we hit the inevitable recession, all heck is going to break loose in the sub prime car loan market because the same bad loans that were happening in the housing market are now happening in the car market. The Trump administration is not only ignoring that problem, they are actively making it worse by promising to take away the few regulations that remain. That is going to tank domestic car manufacturing for a while which will result in a lot of layoffs. Let’s see how Trump and his “let it burn” Republicans deal with that.

    BTW, if you have money in the market now, I would strongly encourage you to start at least hedging it if not taking your profits and heading to safer waters. There just isn’t that much more left to the top of this market to risk squeezing the last few percentage points out of your gain. The next recession could be a longer one just because we have inexperienced people at the helm AND the fed doesn’t have as much room to maneuver as it once did. The first Bush recession happened in March 2001 when the dot-com bubble burst. It was the correction to the longest bull market in our history. Hard to tell what will cause this one, but it is coming. Just my opinion.

  22. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Your response above about Sessions is wrong. View the video I gave you above as to the complete question and his complete answer. I don’t have a problem with it based on what we know. Al Frankan ask about the “campaign” and Session answered it about the campaign. Not Senator Sessions. Did you meet with the Russians about THE CAMPAIN. In fact I agree he should requese himself..

    I guess I’m not surprised – just fascinated.

    The issue isn’t that Sessions perjured himself in his confirmation hearing. I’ve already said that is very difficult to prove. The issue is that Sessions didn’t reveal a meeting with the Russian spy master at a moment when it was obvious that senators were asking about meetings between the Trump campaign and the Russian. If it was an innocent meeting, why not share that it happened? The issue is that the White House claimed that Sessions never told them about the meeting either. If it was an innocent meeting, why didn’t Session give the White House a heads up that these meetings happened?

    The problems that this raises is if there IS an investigation, part of what is going to be investigated is whether Session DID in fact tell the White House. The problem with that is that there are only two outcomes and neither bode well for Sessions. That’s because Sessions is going to have to take the blame for not telling the White House of these meetings even if he did. And Sessions is going to have to say that it was his idea not to talk about the meetings during his confirmation hearing, even if it wasn’t. That means that once the investigation gets going, he is going to have to resign.

    The reason he has to resign is because he is the fall guy. If he doesn’t resign, it could put the President in jeopardy. Here’s why.

    The outcome if Sessions says that he DID tell the White House about his meetings is that Sessions either directly or indirectly implicates the White House in a cover-up of the fact that Sessions had these meetings. Then it raises the question of why the White House DIDN’T specifically instruct Sessions in his confirmation hearings to discuss the meeting with Kislyak. Clearly it was going to come up in form or other. The answer to that question is a blockbuster outcome that could potentially result in Trump’s impeachment. That’s because it is illegal for the White House to order Sessions to withhold information from Congress. So all Sessions is going to be able to say (probably under oath) was that it was his fault. That then put Sessions at great risk of some prison time if investigations later prove that he DID tell the White House of his meetings. It may even be difficult for him to take the fifth at this point because of his previous testimony. He could cut a deal, but that would likely be the end of his political career. He is dead man walking if the investigations get going and he probably knows it.

    That’s why it doesn’t matter what was said in the meetings with Kislyak. What matters is how the White House dealt with the fact that the meetings happened. It is the classic what did Trump know and when did he know it.

    There is to date zero evidence. None.

    This is really fascinating. You were willing to convict Clinton of wrong doing AFTER an investigation by the FBI found her innocent. Now you are defending the Trump administration when they claimed that NO ONE from their campaign had ANY contact with Russians. Are you really that deep into your delusion that you can’t admit that all of the documented conversations DID actually occur?

    Your bias may lead you to the conclusion that none of these conversations had anything to do with the campaign, but until there is an investigation you CAN’T be sure.

    All I am saying is that an investigation is coming. What that investigation turns up, we don’t know. But Sessions will likely be an early casualty because of what I’ve already described. He won’t be the only one. The longer that the Trump administration stonewalls, the worse it is going to get for them. They probably know that too, but it is not on Trump’s nature to do the wise thing. Instead he will continue to battle to the bitter end, which will make it very difficult for him to do much of anything else. No legislative progress. Drip drip drip on the scandals.

    It is going to be very interesting.

  23. Jeff Beamsley says:

    This MarketWatch opinion piece does a good job of summarizing my opinion.

    The president needs to put up or shut up. If Trump can identify evidence to show that Obama personally ordered wiretapping of Trump’s phones, that would be a serious matter. If, on the other hand, Trump has no evidence to back up his incendiary allegations, that would also be a serious matter, and there must be consequences.

    The consequences he recommends are invoking the 25th amendment because the President is no longer fit to serve. I don’t think that it will get that far, but it has the potential of becoming the third scandal that I’ve discussed.

    If there is an investigation, as Trump has requested, into the question of whether the Obama administration ILLEGALLY ordered surveillance on the Trump campaign – this will be independent of the investigations into Russian connections and the pending investigation of the Yemen raid.

    All of those investigations together will erode Trump’s approval rating to the point where the Congress has several options. They can impeach or they can invoke the 25th amendment. Somewhere in there, if it gets that far, Trump will resign and this sorry episode will be over.

  24. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW BTW

    Koch Bros are putting the heat on Republicans to keep their promise to repeal Obamacare.

    “We’ve been patient this year, but it is past time to act and to act decisively,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, which is coordinating the push with other groups across the Kochs’ political network. “Our network has spent more money, more time and more years fighting Obamacare than anything else. And now with the finish line in sight, we cannot allow some folks to pull up and give up.”

    The new mantra could be summed up as repeal, replace or revolt. Beyond the Koch network, other well-financed conservative groups like the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks are also increasing the pressure. All together, the new campaigns will involve advertising, rallies, phone calls to the Capitol switchboard and efforts to confront lawmakers in their offices with documentation of their own words about the need for repeal.

    The Koch groups are calling their campaign “You Promised,” and are prepared to spend heavily, they said.

    This is the beginning of the fracturing of the support that Republicans need to do something about Obamacare.

    These guys represent the group that want to repeal it with little or no replacement.

    There is an even larger group that does not want to see it repealed. They want to see it get better.

    Both of these groups comprise the 22% conditionals. The outcome is bound to make someone unhappy. Some of those who are unhappy are going to stop supporting Trump. It is inevitable.

  25. Jeff Beamsley says:

    GM cutting back auto production jobs in Michigan.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gm-layoffs-idUSKBN16D1S6

    Right now it looks like it is a rebalancing of production between cars and trucks.

    In the future it may reflect a general slow down in the car market.

    If the later, we may be seeing the start of a recession.

    If the auto market slows down a lot, we could see the subprime loan market collapse too. That could be the event that triggers a full scale recession.

    Will be interesting to see how Trump responds to big job losses in auto manufacturing.

  26. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW BTW BTW

    Remember your comments that the Democrats have lost every election including dog catcher over the last 8 years? Well it wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. There is still at lot of work to do, but Mr. Trump is kind enough to help us poor Dems out.

    Nine special elections, all for state legislative seats, have taken place since Donald Trump was elected president in November. In seven of them, Democrats ran ahead of Hillary Clinton’s performance.

    The nine state legislative elections aren’t exactly a representative sample — they’ve taken place in just four states. They’re not even all Democratic wins — the party won five of the contests, and Republicans captured four. But the common denominator was unusually high Democratic turnout, as well as a spike in Democratic performance over past elections for those seats.

  27. Jeff Beamsley says:

    btw btw btw btw – regarding the markets.

    An article from Reuters suggests that investors are pulling back from the market because of recent actions by Trump. You going to hold him accountable for that?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-wiretap-idUSKBN16D21T?il=0

    The wiretapping allegation hit U.S. stocks on Monday. Some investors worried that the affair could distract Trump from his economic agenda of introducing tax cuts and simplifying regulations that has powered a record-setting rally on Wall Street since the election.

    The lack of detail on Trump’s proposals, his isolationist stance and setbacks in filling his Cabinet have made investors question whether the post-election rally has run its course.

  28. Jeff Beamsley says:

    More from Reuters. This is significantly more direct in connecting what they predict is going to be a market correction to Trump’s policies.

    U.S. stock index futures were down on Tuesday as investors assessed the potential impact of U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest moves, including a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

    Healthcare stocks will be in focus after Republicans unveiled a proposal on Monday that would roll back extra healthcare funding for the poor and introduce a system of tax credits for people to buy insurance.

    A record run on Wall Street has lost momentum in the past few days as investors seek more details on Trump’s proposals, including reduced regulations, tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending.

    Again, if you are going to give Trump the credit for the Trump Rally, you are going to have to hold him accountable for any future correction.

    Looking forward to your response.

  29. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW …..

    ADP just posted their guidance that businesses added 289,000 new jobs in February.

    Curious when you are going to be willing to admit that perhaps this economy is in good shape? BTW please don’t suggest that Trump had anything to do with this.

    His job is going to be to keep it going. But he is starting from what is probably going to be the peak in terms of employment. So it is going to be interesting to see where the workers are going to come from to fill all of the new jobs that he claims he will be creating.

    We should start doing some year over year comparisons later in this year when some of his policies (or lack thereof) have had an opportunity to take hold.

  30. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Funniest thing.

    Job approval rating went up a little bit after Trump’s speech to Congress, but now it’s headed back down again after the revelations about Trump campaign meetings with Russians.

    Our buddies from Rassmussen went from 53% a month ago to 49% today. Everyone else showed a similar sharp drop.

    The drum beat is starting for Sessions too. Quinnipiac University indicated that 51 percent of voters think Sessions should step down.

    And as predicted, the Republican plan to replace Obamacare is upsetting mostly everyone expect perhaps Paul Ryan. This puppy is DOA and the CBO scoring hasn’t even come out yet. This is going to be a big test of how effective Trump will be as a leader of his party. Low approval ratings, embarrassing conspiracy claims, and a growing number of investigations are not helping. If Republicans fail in their attempt to get this passed out the House, it is going to look VERY bad for Trump AND Ryan.

    What happens as it becomes clear that this bill DOES NOT deliver on Trump’s campaign promise to replace Obamacare with something that is cheaper, better, and covering more people? He also promised that he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, which is turning out to be a big lie.

    The AMA is unhappy.

    Even Avik Roy, one of the harshest critics of Obamacare, said, “It won’t work”, and it will “make coverage unaffordable for millions”.

    I’ll post something on this in more detail.

    Those 22% conditionals who are planning to hold him accountable for his promises are not going to be happy.

    The are also not going to be happy that the infrastructure bill may be year away. They are also wondering why Trump may have to make drastic cuts to the coast guard and airport security to build a wall that he was going to get Mexico to pay for.

    And he did sign a new executive order on immigration, but it is likely to get struck down just like the last one because the White House has failed to prove that there is any crisis on our boarders that requires him to suspend normal immigration procedures.

    We do live in interesting times.

  31. Keith says:

    I agree with this analysis.

    Stephen Auth, chief investment officer for equities at Federated Investors, said this may be a bull market that ends up running 20 years.

    He sees this run as entering its third phase. The first, which lasted from 2009 until about 2012, was the result of simply avoiding the meltdown of the economy that markets were fearing. The second, which lasted until last November, was marked by steady but slow economic growth and a Federal Reserve that kept interest rates at nearly zero. Now, he said the third will be marked by stronger growth in the economy and corporate earnings.

    “There’s a lot of money on the sidelines that can fuel this wall of hope, that’s been sitting out this bull market up until now,” Auth said. “Before, in the first phase, they could ask why the market is going up when nothing was happening. In the second phase, they could ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ when there was no growth. But now, you can’t sit here and ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ It’s obvious. Earnings are starting to accelerate.”

  32. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I like Mark Zandi from Moody’s. Here’s what he has to say about whether his economic outlook has changed as a result of the Trump election..

    No it has not. I mean I do think the odds of getting some fiscal stimulus, that is tax cuts and government spending increases that are deficit financed, that are not paid for are now much higher. And if you do that, you are going to get more growth temporarily … but you’re also going to get more inflation because the economy’s at full employment and higher interest rates and ultimately a weaker economy, so it’s going to be a more cyclical economy; a bigger up and a bigger down. That’s the only real change at this point that I’ve adopted.

    You know corporate tax reform is a pretty good thing if you can pull it off and pay for it … but there are some things that are bad. Banning travel, immigration restrictions, making it tougher for skilled workers to come to the country, trade deals that are pulling back on trade, threatening higher tariffs, tweeting, brow-beating companies about their business — these are things that make long-term growth less likely to be strong. So net, net, my long-term growth outlook for the U.S. economy has not changed at this point. We’ll have to see.

  33. Keith says:

    So for clearification are you ok with stable 1.6 – 1.8% growth?

    Demographic may suggest this is where we are/should be?

    Marks Zandi’s comments are mostly political/partisan opinion.
    Teeeting has nothing to do with the economy. Trump will be judged on what he does, not the style in which he does it.

  34. Jeff Beamsley says:

    So for clearification are you ok with stable 1.6 – 1.8% growth?

    Compared to what? What is the inflation rate? What is the employment rate? How is the rest of the world doing?

    Did you read the whole Zandy article? If you did, you wouldn’t be asking that question.

    Demographic may suggest this is where we are/should be?

    Demographics just suggest that there is a 1.25% drag on the economy. That doesn’t mean that we can’t grow at 2% or more. Just suggests that 4% sustained growth is going to be very difficult for all of the detailed reasons I pointed out.

    Marks Zandi’s comments are mostly political/partisan opinion.

    And your economist comments weren’t?

    Teeeting has nothing to do with the economy. Trump will be judged on what he does, not the style in which he does it.

    Wrong again.

    A lot of voters are cheering Trump’s strategy. Most economists hate it. They call it “crony capitalism,” and they warn it will inject new and damaging uncertainty into America’s back offices and boardrooms.

    “This can really change the incentives of firms,” says Scott Ross Baker, an economist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, who studies the effects of policy uncertainty on the economy. “They can start to think about, the way they can make the most money in the future is not to make the best products but to ingratiate themselves.”

    Research suggests the Trump approach will hurt consumers and small businesses. It will likely dampen hiring and investment.

    But it’s going to be great for lobbyists. And it will probably help Trump’s approval ratings.

  35. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Rasmussen, the Republican friendly poll, is down to 46% on presidential approval. That’s a full 13 point slide from Trump’s high point with this poll of 59%. This is BEFORE the bad news on Trumpcare came out. Trump’s core demographic, older white working class people are going to see DRAMATIC increases in their healthcare costs. Those that are receiving Medicaid may soon be left to fend for themselves. You can’t take health insurance away from 24M people, increase premiums for older folks, and not suffer some political consequences. Worse yet, folks like Ryan are suggesting that this is a good thing because is saves $337B from the budget. But Obamacare ALSO reduced the deficit $109B. So what ultimately is going to be the justification for making healthcare unaffordable for more people rather than “covering everybody” as Trump promised?

    This deal is going nowhere. Which is going to be just another black eye for Trump.

  36. Keith says:

    If The ACA is left in place unchanged, how many people are effected? I already have paid tens of thousands more because of the ACA. I will continue to pay ten’s if thousands more in its current form. How many more tens of thousands will I pay in addition to the tens of thousands I’ll pay extra in the future will I have to pay if it continues to go unchanged.

    Bottom line which I’ve stated before. The republicans are left to fix something they don’t want or like.

    My view. There were 10,000,000 or so folks who needed help. Instead of helping those the ACA changed everything for everyone. Typical liberal incorrect thinking. I say help the 10,000,000

  37. Jeff Beamsley says:

    https://theintercept.com/2017/03/16/key-democratic-officials-now-warning-base-not-to-expect-evidence-of-trumprussia-collusion/

    I think it would be wonderful to find out as the result of a thorough unbiased investigation that there were no contacts between the Trump campaign and the attempts by the Russian government to destabilize our election.

    YOU on the other hand, rejected the conclusions of similar investigations into Clinton’s actions with Benghazi and her guilt regarding her use of a private email server.

    What the Benghazi investigation DID reveal was the fact that Clinton was using a private email server. That was the issue that ultimately cost her the election.

    In a similar vein, the REAL issue here is going to be what the administration knew, when they knew it, and what if any actions the administration took to prevent information from becoming public. Why did the White House nominate Flynn when they knew that he was a paid lobbyist for Turkey and why didn’t they divulge that information?

    Again, it would be wonderful to discover that there was no attempt to cover-up any information or mislead Congress and the american people. Perhaps it was just shear incompetence on a large scale. But the american people deserve to know and an unbiased investigation is the only way that is going to happen.

  38. Jeff Beamsley says:

    If The ACA is left in place unchanged, how many people are effected? I already have paid tens of thousands more because of the ACA. I will continue to pay ten’s if thousands more in its current form. How many more tens of thousands will I pay in addition to the tens of thousands I’ll pay extra in the future will I have to pay if it continues to go unchanged.

    No one said that ACA was perfect. It did succeed in lowering the uninsured rate to 8.6%. That’s the lowest uninsured rate in 50 years. The CBO has also documented that the growth in healthcare costs has also slowed. How that affects you personally, I don’t know. But I know as a country, that healthcare growth rates PRIOR to ACA were unsustainable. The combination of slowing the healthcare growth rate AND taxes to strengthen Medicare have EXTENDED the life of the current fund to 2029. That is right on the cusp of the peak of the Baby Boom enrollment in Medicare.

    Bottom line which I’ve stated before. The republicans are left to fix something they don’t want or like.

    They don’t plan to fix it. They plan to use the same unilateral approach that you criticized bitterly for the ACA to pass a huge tax cut for the wealthy disguised as healthcare reform. Fortunately the public has figured this out. Trump’s approval ratings have taken another hit (Gallup is down to 37%) as I predicted. Ryan only has so much flexibility because he can only use the reconciliation process for bills that have no negative budget implications. So he won’t be able to reduce the impact for older sicker people enough and retain Medicaid expansion and keep this a revenue neutral bill. Even if he figures out how to do that, the bill is going to need to get a lot more conservative to make it out of house and that will prevent it from getting even 50 votes in the Senate.

    The bottom line is that as long as Republicans insist on passing this without any input from Democrats, it’s dead. It’s dead because Republicans are split between a group that feels that government subsidized healthcare is a socialist entitlement, and the group that appreciates the political cost of being the party that took healthcare away from 10M-24M million people. Neither group has the votes to pass healthcare on a simple majority basis, much less on a basis where 60 votes are required in the Senate.

    My view. There were 10,000,000 or so folks who needed help. Instead of helping those the ACA changed everything for everyone. Typical liberal incorrect thinking. I say help the 10,000,000

    Here you go mister “liberal incorrect thinking” guy. While I seriously dispute your numbers, it doesn’t make any difference. Let’s just start where you started. What should we do to take care of the 10M or so people who REALLY need help?

    BTW, that statement regarding the number of people who “really” need help is very typical conservative response. It’s better to punish the innocent in order to make sure that we prevent anyone from getting something that they don’t deserve.

  39. Keith says:

    To Russia, how many votes were changed by the Russians? My demo rate friends from Michigan and Pennsylvania would say they would never vote for Hillary. Ask the 70,000 African American’s in Detroit who didn’t show up, same with Milwaukee… we’ve been through this before. Trump did not win in my view, Hillary Lost.

    Investigate if there is something to investigate. I have no problem with that. But what are you looking for? The election was influenced mostly by what, I say this respectfully, a pathicitc candidate Hillary was.

  40. Keith says:

    Ys) BTW, that statement regarding the number of people who “really” need help is very typical conservative response. It’s better to punish the innocent in order to make sure that we prevent anyone from getting something that they don’t deserve.

    MR) I don’t understand this comment.

    I WANT to help the neediest. I blame the republicans for NOT doing something about this for years. Instead the dems “fixed” it. I don’t want to punish anyone.

    And the ACA is a mess because it was passed with zero rublican votes. The same amount of Dems who will help republicans. So yes it’s a mess and will continue to be a mess.

    We also don’t know how many the ACA helped. No one knows that answer.

  41. Jeff Beamsley says:

    To Russia, how many votes were changed by the Russians? My demo rate friends from Michigan and Pennsylvania would say they would never vote for Hillary. Ask the 70,000 African American’s in Detroit who didn’t show up, same with Milwaukee… we’ve been through this before. Trump did not win in my view, Hillary Lost.

    This is more right wing spin. You are better than that.

    The issue IS NOT who won the election. Trump won. Get over it. 🙂

    Our intelligence community has proof that the Russians attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election in multiple ways. This is a pattern of activity that they have used to destabilize many countries. It is also not unique to the Russians. Our country has also involved itself in the elections of other countries where we felt that was in our best interests. Hopefully you don’t have issue with any of those facts.

    The question is was there any coordination between the Trump campaign and these Russian activities. The crime is the coordination, not the effect of the coordination. Just like any other conspiracy to commit a crime, the conspiracy is the crime rather than the crime itself.

    Investigate if there is something to investigate. I have no problem with that. But what are you looking for? The election was influenced mostly by what, I say this respectfully, a pathicitc candidate Hillary was.

    What they are looking for is contacts during the campaign between Russians and the Trump campaign.

    This is NOT an attempt to rerun the election. The election is over.

    It is also not an attempt to explain why people voted for whomever they voted for, though again to be precise Clinton DID win the popular vote. She just didn’t have enough voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to win the Electoral College vote.

    My prediction continues to be that the investigations will find that there was some low level coordination that may or may not send some people to jail. What will determine the future of the Trump presidency is the amount of cover-up that occurred. What I also anticipate is that as his approval rating goes down the investigations will intensify. My last prediction is that these investigations will take a long time because that benefits the FBI and the other intelligence services as they assert their role in the era of Trump. It is the beginning of the payback that the “deep administrative state” has in store for a President who feels he can toss around critical comments as if they were Roosevelt dimes and not be accountable for the accuracy of those claims.

  42. Jeff Beamsley says:

    And the ACA is a mess because it was passed with zero rublican votes. The same amount of Dems who will help republicans. So yes it’s a mess and will continue to be a mess.

    The ACA is NOT a mess. That is another right wing talking point.

    I agree that healthcare reform would be better if both parties embraced it. The problem is that at least for some Republicans, ANY government subsidized healthcare reform is evil. How do you compromise with someone who rejects your right to exist?

    We also don’t know how many the ACA helped. No one knows that answer.

    Also another right wing talking point. The number of uninsured is going down. Growth in healthcare costs has slowed. Those were the goals. In any other country, you would take the parts that are working and improve the parts that aren’t working. That’s not our approach.

  43. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, when you said that Obamacare cost you so much money, I recall that you declined to purchase your insurance through the exchanges. As a result, you declined any subsidy that you may have qualified for. Please share your details so that we can attempt to perform an apples to apples comparison of how the new proposal might affect your costs.

    You may blame that higher cost on what is called Actuarial Value. The ACA required that insurance cover either 80% or 90% of the likely costs that a customer may encounter. Trumpcare removes those requirements. That’s why part of the CBO projections shows cost of premiums going down by 10% starting in 2026. The REASON is that older people are projected to be priced out of the market because they won’t be able to afford the combination of premiums AND copays. The resulting younger and healthier population will both use their insurance less AND will pay more when they do. The projected Actuarial Value of the new plan is 60%. That means that insurance will ultimately serve only those people who are generally healthy or have the resources to cover a significant portion of their costs out of their own pocket.

    This is NOT a solution to the fundamental issues of making healthcare affordable for more people AND bring down to cost of healthcare.

  44. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Here’s a little more current data on the ACA from a CBO report earlier this month.

    The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee originally estimated that the gross cost of the ACA’s insurance coverage provision would be $214 billion in 2019. They currently project a cost of $148 billion in 2019, a reduction of about one-third, the report said.

    The downward projections are based on slower than expected growth in enrollment in the ACA, a slowdown in the overall growth of healthcare costs covered by private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and the the Supreme Court’s decision to make Medicaid expansion an option for states.

    What that means in real dollars are that the CBO’s original projection of savings of around $109B are now more like $176B.

    How much you want to bet that the “savings” of the current Republican plan end up being less than that when it gets scored again this week?

    So then the significant question is WHY REPLACE IT? It will cost more, particularly for older sicker people. It represents a huge tax cut for the wealthy and it covers significantly fewer people.

  45. Jeff Beamsley says:

    And the ACA is a mess because it was passed with zero rublican votes. The same amount of Dems who will help republicans. So yes it’s a mess and will continue to be a mess.

    Here’s a few more facts courtesy of the Wash Post

    Credible estimates suggest the health-care law boosted the number of people with health insurance by 20 million.

    The Congressional Budget Office, in its report on the GOP replacement bill, said that the individual market would be stable in most markets at least for the next 10 years under the Affordable Care Act.

    Republicans are responsible for some of the increased premiums and lack of sign-ups in state exchanges.

    For example, Republican lawmakers restricted a key payment mechanism called “risk corridors,” which was intended to help stabilize premiums and protect insurance companies from losses in the initial three years of the law. And within his first week in office, Trump pulled back federally sponsored advertising encouraging people to sign up for health exchanges during the open enrollment period.

    Trump’s claims that TN is an example of ACA failing and half the state has not insurance?

    This is false. Tennessee is divided into eight geographic areas that insurers use to set their rates. All eight rating areas have at least one insurance carrier, and three of them have two carriers.

    Trump’s claim that physicians are leaving the profession because of Obamacare?

    Recent data from the Association of American Medical Colleges shows physicians are actually retiring two years later, said Atul Grover, the group’s executive vice president. Grover said the group has not seen a significant number of physicians leaving the industry because of the law: “There is also no evidence of a declining interest in medicine since the ACA took effect. Applications to medical school are at an all-time high. The real challenge the physician workforce faces is the cap on federal support for graduate medical education established by Congress 20 years ago. As a result, there are not enough residency positions to fill demand.”

    Trump’s claims of premium increases?

    Premiums increased overall in 2017 — but Trump cherry-picks data from Arizona, the state hit hardest by premium increases. The average increase for the second-lowest-cost silver plan (which is used as the benchmark to calculate government subsidies) is 25 percent. A few states, such as Indiana, will actually see a decrease.

    But the majority of enrollees in the marketplace receive government premium subsidies and, in theory, are protected from such premium increases. So who is affected? The people who do not qualify for the tax subsidy. The GOP replacement plan would provide tax subsidies to a broader group of people but often provide less money per person to pay for insurance, so premiums may rise for many, especially the elderly, compared to current law, the CBO said.

  46. Jeff Beamsley says:

    To Russia, how many votes were changed by the Russians? My demo rate friends from Michigan and Pennsylvania would say they would never vote for Hillary. Ask the 70,000 African American’s in Detroit who didn’t show up, same with Milwaukee… we’ve been through this before. Trump did not win in my view, Hillary Lost.

    Just a little bit more on this subject from the Wash Post.

    At the start of the House Intelligence hearing, Schiff methodically traced the series of events concerning President Trump’s Russia scandal. He pointedly reminded the audience and fellow lawmakers, “We will never know whether the Russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. Indeed, it is unknowable in a campaign in which so many small changes could have dictated a different result. More importantly, and for the purposes of our investigation, it simply does not matter. What does matter is this: The Russians successfully meddled in our democracy, and our intelligence agencies have concluded that they will do so again.”

    This is NOT an investigation intended to rerun the November election.

    Now, is it possible that the removal of the Ukraine provision from the GOP platform was a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to tell the Senate about his meetings with the Russian ambassador, not only at the convention, but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the U.S. election was under attack by the Russians? Is it a coincidence that Michael Flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same Russian Ambassador Kislyak about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke — the U.S. imposition of sanctions over Russian hacking of our election designed to help Donald Trump? Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company Rosneft sold a 19 percent share after former British intelligence officer [Christopher] Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size? Is it a coincidence that Steele’s Russian sources also affirmed that Russia had stolen documents hurtful to Secretary Clinton that it would utilize in exchange for pro-Russian policies that would later come to pass? Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be the victim of a Russian hack and have his private emails published, and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself was fully aware that his private emails would be exposed?

    Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don’t know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out.

    This is what happens when good investigations get going. They identify what the potential problem is, look for the connections which can justify the investigation, and then either take action or issue a report. That’s what is going to happen in this investigation regardless of how Trump or the right attempt to spin it.

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