Popular shared stories on NewsBlur.
2097 stories
·
41167 followers

On Trump's Latest Interview with the NYT

1 Share
So, Donald Trump did another interview with the New York Times, extended excerpts from which [Content Note: video may autoplay at link] have been published for all of us to read and build core strength by repeatedly recoiling in horror.

The major pull item from the interview has been [CN: video may autoplay] Trump complaining about Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation: "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else."

Yikes. Walter Schaub, who recently resigned as Director of the Office of Government Ethics, said bluntly: "That's an absolutely outrageous statement for the president to have made." Yup. And it was hardly the only outrageous statement he made regarding the Russia investigation: Trump "also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey's dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election," warning "investigators against delving into matters too far afield from Russia."

All of which constitutes just a small percentage of the alarming content of the far-ranging interview, during which he also referred once again to his "enemies" in the press and described his granddaughter (who just happened to stroll in during the interview to say "I love you, Grandpa" in Chinese) as having "good, smart genes."

Following are just a few other quotes which piqued my interest for various reasons (and, yes, all of these are real):

On healthcare.

"So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you're 21 years old, you start working and you're paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you're 70, you get a nice plan. Here's something where you walk up and say, 'I want my insurance.' It's a very tough deal, but it is something that we're doing a good job of."

"I want to either get it done or not get it done. If we don't get it done, we are going to watch Obamacare go down the tubes, and we'll blame the Democrats."

"This health care is a tough deal. I said it from the beginning. No. 1, you know, a lot of the papers were saying — actually, these guys couldn't believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care. [garbled]"

On his travels abroad.

"I have had the best reviews on foreign land. So I go to Poland and make a speech. Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president."

"[French President Emmanuel Macron]'s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand. People don't realize he loves holding my hand. And that's good, as far as that goes. I mean, really. He's a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand."

"It was a two-hour parade. They had so many different zones. Maybe 100,000 different uniforms, different divisions, different bands. Then we had the retired, the older, the ones who were badly injured. The whole thing, it was an incredible thing."

"We had dinner at the Eiffel Tower, and the bottom of the Eiffel Tower looked like they could have never had a bigger celebration ever in the history of the Eiffel Tower. I mean, there were thousands and thousands of people, 'cause they heard we were having dinner."

On...history?

"Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: 'No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.' [garbled] The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn't go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather? [garbled] Same thing happened to Hitler. Not for that reason, though. Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army. But the Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they've won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. [crosstalk] It's pretty amazing. So, we're having a good time. The economy is doing great."

On the economy.

"I've given the farmers back their farms. I've given the builders back their land to build houses and to build other things."

"Dodd-Frank is going to be, you know, modified, and again, I want rules and regulations. But you don't want to choke, right? People can't get loans to buy a pizza parlor."

On his undisclosed meeting with Putin at the G20.

"We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Jr.] had in that meeting. As I've said — most other people, you know, when they call up and say, 'By the way, we have information on your opponent,' I think most politicians — I was just with a lot of people, they said [inaudible], 'Who wouldn't have taken a meeting like that?'"

On foreign policy.

"Crimea was gone during the Obama administration, and he gave, he allowed it to get away. You know, he can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn't actually. He didn't talk tough to North Korea. You know, we have a big problem with North Korea. Big. Big, big. You look at all of the things, you look at the line in the sand. The red line in the sand in Syria. He didn't do the shot. I did the shot."

On Jeff Sessions' recusal.

"Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else. ...So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I can't, you know, I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair, and that's a mild word, to the president."

"Yeah, what Jeff Sessions did was he recused himself right after, right after he became attorney general. And I said, 'Why didn't you tell me this before?' I would have — then I said, 'Who's your deputy?' So his deputy he hardly knew, and that's Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he's from Baltimore."

On Bob Mueller's investigation.

"By the way, I would say, I don't — I don't — I mean, it's possible there's a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don't make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don't make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don't have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don't. They said I made money from Russia. I don't. It's not my thing. I don't, I don't do that. Over the years, I've looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one. Other than I held the Miss Universe pageant there eight, nine years [crosstalk]."

Oh.
Read the whole story
skittone
1 minute ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

Trump Hands Putin Another Gift

1 Share
Greg Jaffe and Adam Entous at the Washington Post: Trump Ends Covert CIA Program to Arm Anti-Assad Rebels in Syria, a Move Sought by Moscow.
[Donald] Trump has decided to end the CIA's covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials.

...Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump's interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests.

...After the Trump-Putin meeting, the United States and Russia announced an agreement to back a new cease-fire in southwest Syria, along the Jordanian border, where many of the CIA-backed rebels have long operated. Trump described the limited cease-fire deal as one of the benefits of a constructive working relationship with Moscow.
To describe this as "a move long sought by Moscow" is an understatement. My friend (and expert in this area) Leah McElrath explains:
By ceasing U.S. military aid to anti-Assad forces in Syria, Trump gave Russian Putin a gift Russia has sought for more than a century: Earlier this year, Putin signed a treaty with Assad to establish and expand a naval base on the coast of Syria that is allowed to house up to eleven nuclear-powered warships at a time for 49 years, with ability to extend for another 25 years.

Historically, a central geopolitical goal for Russia has been to conquer enough territory to obtain a warm-water port for itself which will enable it to reach the Mediterranean Sea and, from there, the Atlantic Ocean. The vast majority of its extensive coastline is in the north in cold-waters that tend to freeze over. The warm-water coastal areas in Russia front land-locked seas.

So, by withdrawing the relatively minimal support provided by the U.S. to the anti-Assad forces, the likelihood of Assad killing everyone who is left opposing him in Syria is much higher. And Putin gets Russia its warm-water port after more than a century of effort by the country, as it has moved through its various iterations as an empire, a socialist union, and an authoritarian federation.
This is, of course, the second long-sought gift Trump has delivered to Putin, the first being subversion the of U.S.-Germany alliance. As I noted in May: "Trump is working very hard to undermine goodwill with our NATO allies, with a special insult to Germany. Since the end of WWII, Russia has had an explicit objective of busting up the U.S.-German alliance, because the combined strength of the U.S. and Germany, in both military might and democratic cultural influence, provided a check on the empiric aspirations of the Soviet Union, now Russia. Trump's subversion of the U.S-Germany relationship is providing a dangerous opening to Putin, who has already made abundantly clear his intent to rebuild Russia's reach with his annexation of Crimea and moves in Ukraine."

Aspirations about which two female world leaders — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May — have explicitly warned Trump. (Three female world leaders, if we count Hillary Clinton. Which we should.) But one of the problems with choosing a rank misogynist to run the country is that he won't listen to women, especially when he's also a disloyal scofflaw who is intent on making Putin's wish fulfillment the centerpiece of his presidency.

So here we are.

One last item: Last month, I detailed the curious history of this "work with Russia to defeat IS in Syria" foreign policy approach — and how, before the 2016 election, joining forces with Russia to defeat ISIS was not a mainstream position, on either side of the aisle, because, as Hillary Clinton explained during the second presidential debate, Putin "isn't interested in ISIS" and Russia's assault on Aleppo was instead intended to destroy Syrian rebels opposed to Assad's regime.

Nonetheless, during the 2016 election, the one in which Russia interfered with the objective of critically weakening Clinton, every single one of her leading opponents suggested working with Russia in some manner, using the justification of joining forces to defeat ISIS.

Her Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders, and all of her general election opponents — Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson — all four from across the political spectrum, and all four with campaign ties to Russia, each offered a policy of aligning with Russia, with the rationale of defeating ISIS, a foreign policy position that was not being advocated by any serious politicians before the 2016 election.

And a rationale that has never made, and continues to make, no sense based on the most basic understanding of Russia's objectives and alliances in Syria.

Trump, whose campaign appears to have received the most direct help from Russia and may have colluded with Russia during the election, is now the president. And so he is the one who is now enacting this "futile and dangerous" policy.

Hillary Clinton was the only candidate who we can be certain never would have handed this gift to Putin.
Read the whole story
skittone
5 minutes ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

How to Have the Best Bonfire of the Summer

1 Comment

Bonfires are pretty much a summer and early fall tradition. You might think they’re easy to throw together in a few minutes, but making a bit more effort will turn a mediocre bonfire gathering into one that you and your friends will fondly remember.

Read more...

Read the whole story
samuel
8 minutes ago
reply
You can never have too much wood at a bonfire. Short on time? Just burn more.
The Haight in San Francisco
Share this story
Delete

Watch this teaser for Pacific Rim: Uprising that looks like a Jaeger commercial

1 Share
 Your next ride could be a huge, amazing combat robot designed to fight monsters: That’s the message behind this new teaser for Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 Kaiju movie. The new instalment is set to star Star Wars’ John Boyega, and it’s arriving in theaters next February. This teaser isn’t a straight up trailer – it’s… Read More




Read the whole story
fxer
31 minutes ago
reply
Bend, Oregon
Share this story
Delete

#HackTor: Tor Opens up its Bug Bounty Program

1 Share
The popular identity-cloaking service has expanded its private, invite-only vulnerability discovery program to an open one via HackerOne.

Read the whole story
fxer
56 minutes ago
reply
Bend, Oregon
Share this story
Delete

Shyp is reducing headcount and suspending all operations outside of SF

1 Share
 Shyp, the on-demand shipping service launched in 2013, has announced in a blog post that they are withdrawing from all but one city and “reducing headcount at headquarters” in an effort to “prove their business model and set Shyp up for long-term success.” The company will suspend operations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and only operate in San Francisco. Read More




Read the whole story
fxer
56 minutes ago
reply
Bend, Oregon
Share this story
Delete

The bottom 20% of earners outspend income by 2x each year

1 Share
Comments

Consumer expenditure survey (illustrating the income divide)


I recently dug through Consumer Expenditure Survey data, and found some interesting snippets. I don't have great deal of commentary on the data in aggregate, but I grouped the different cuts and called out some interesting points below.


Annual spending habits across income groups
  • The bottom 60% of earners spend more than they make in a given year.
  • The lowest 20% of earners spend over 2x earnings each year.
  • The lowest 20% of earners spend over 90% of income on housing alone, 30% on food.

Spending_income Spending_income



Vehicle ownership across income groups
  • The bottom 20% of earners own <1 car on average, while the highest 20% own nearly 3 cars
Spending_income


Gender distribution across income groups
  • The lowest income quantile is comprised of >60% women, while the highest quantile drops to ~44% women.
Spending_income


Education distribution across income groups
  • >50% of the lowest income quantile do not have a college education. Higher levels of education correlated with higher income, not surprising.
Spending_income

Racial distribution across income groups
  • As we move up in income quantiles, we see fewer African Americans.
Spending_income

Housing distribution across income groups
  • The poorest groups primarily rent.
  • The middle groups primarily own homes, but many with mortgages.
  • The richest groups primarily own homes outright.
Spending_income


Comments
Read the whole story
fxer
58 minutes ago
reply
Bend, Oregon
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories