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Federal Payments to Farmers Have Tripled Since 2017, and Trump Just Promised Even More: https://reason.com/2020/09/23/federal-farm-bailout-tripled-since-2017-trade-war/

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It was March 2, 2018, when President Donald Trump's top trade adviser appeared on Fox Business Network to reassure Americans that other countries wouldn't retaliate against new tariffs proposed by the White House.

Those tariffs on imported steel and aluminum were the first major battle in what's become an expensive and largely unsuccessful 2 1/2 year-long trade war. But even at that early stage, it was obvious to some observers that the trade war wouldn't be as easy or beneficial as the Trump administration was promising. "Should we expect China and others to come back and say, 'Oh really America? Well take this, I'm going to raise tariffs and retaliate on farm goods," Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo directly asked Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, during that March 2 interview.

"I don't believe any country is going to retaliate for the simple reason that we are the most lucrative and biggest market in the world," Navarro told her.

Well, he was wrong. Retaliation from several countries, but especially from China, caused exports of American agricultural goods to plummet in the years that followed. In 2017, the last year before the trade war began, China imported more than $19 billion in American farm goods, which fell to $9 billion in 2018 and rebounded weakly to $13 billion in 2019. Exports to other countries have been unable to make up the difference and, as a result, overall agricultural exports have fallen since the trade war began—ironically, given Trump's focus on trade deficits, that means America now has a smaller farm goods trade surplus than at any time since 2006.

But to fix one self-inflicted wound, the Trump administration made another. Starting in 2018 and ramping up last year, the White House began making billions of dollars of direct payments to farmers who had been economically injured by the trade war. The Trump farm bailouts are on pace to cost taxpayers more than $37 billion this year—a huge increase over the total cost of direct farm payments, as tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in pre-trade war times.

 

FarmPayments.jpg Chart by Eric Boehm, based on USDA data. Source: https://data.ers.usda.gov/reports.aspx?ID=17833

The farm bailout has already cost taxpayers more than $28 billion—a total that doesn't include $14 billion in spending announced this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—all without a single dollar being approved by Congress. Instead, the White House has activated a long-dormant Depression-era program to borrow the funds directly from the Treasury.

The whole thing is exactly the sort of unaccountable executive overreach that Republicans used to campaign against. Now, Trump is using those bailouts as part of his reelection pitch, effectively telling voters in farm-heavy states that the money will keep flowing as long as they keep him in office.

"I am doing even more to support Wisconsin farmers," Trump said during a rally in Wisconsin on Friday. "Starting next week, my administration is committing an additional—you have been asking for this for a long time—$13 billion in relief to help farmers recover from the China virus, including Wisconsin's incredible dairy, cranberry and ginseng farmers who got hurt badly."

Blaming the coronavirus pandemic is a clever bit of campaign-trail rhetoric, but it's clear that American farmers were hurting long before the world knew about COVID-19. Wisconsin dairy farmers have been hit particularly hard recently—the state saw roughly 10 percent of its dairy farms close in 2019, before coronavirus hit—and the state is, of course, a key battleground in the upcoming presidential election.

If the farm bailouts were an exception, maybe Republicans could be forgiven for looking the other way. But Trump has expanded the cost of government on almost every front during the past four years. For a guy running against the supposed socialism of the political left, Trump sure has embraced a lot of socialism on his own when it has been politically advantageous to do so.

But even if Trump is defeated and the trade war comes to an end, taxpayers may end up footing a larger bill for farm subsidies for years. There's nothing as permanent as a temporary government program, after all.

"It's hard rolling back these things," Joseph Glauber, a senior fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former USDA chief economist told Politico in July. "The headlines are going to scream when [USDA] puts out a February 2021 farm income forecast that doesn't show any ad hoc payments."

Uni-party to the max.

 

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Making this about race is yet another low for you, StatGuy.  

The Deep State Thwarted Trump’s Afghanistan Withdrawal https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-deep-state-thwarted-trumps-afghanistan-withdrawal/  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9366411/Washington-Post-issues-correction-report-Trump-call-Georgia-elections-investigator.html The Washington Post has been slammed after it admitted it

Trump Tweets 'Repeal Section 230,' Something He Couldn't Do if Section 230 Were Repealed: https://reason.com/2020/10/06/donald-trump-repeal-section-230-twitter/

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted "REPEAL SECTION 230!!!" The three exclamation points underscore his enthusiasm for undoing the federal statute that protects social media companies from liability for user-generated content.

REPEAL SECTION 230!!!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020

 

It's an ironic statement since, without the existence of Section 230, Trump very well might not be able to tweet it. If Congress were to remove social media platforms' liability protection, then companies like Twitter and Facebook would have no choice but to remove users' ability to post content at-will. Instead, moderators would have to vet and approve content to make sure that it wasn't potentially libelous.

This would exacerbate the very problem that many conservatives have with social media—namely, that Twitter (and to a lesser extent, Facebook) sometimes takes aggressive action against provocative right-wing speech, by labeling the content as misleading or removing it outright. In some cases, the platforms' treatment of right-wing users does seem overly harsh, or selective in nature—though it is by no means the case that conservatives are the only ones to suffer from harsh and thoughtless moderation. Repealing Section 230, though, is not a solution, unless the goal is to prevent Twitter and Facebook from functioning at all.

Conservatives—and anyone whose views and statements fall outside a narrow window of mainstream respectability—should think long and hard about whether they really want to go down that road. The demise of social media would limit the ability of people to express themselves on the internet, a venue where right-leaning speech has actually flourished: Facebook posts by Ben Shapiro, Fox News, Breitbart, and others are routinely the most-read content on the site. It is Trump's great enemy, the mainstream media, which would benefit most directly from the collapse of these spaces for disseminating information.

Given this, it's no surprise that former Vice President Joe Biden also wants to repeal Section 230. This makes perfect sense: Biden and his allies correctly realize that forcing social media to adopt more guardrails would result in wider moderation of conservative speech. Regulating the internet more aggressively is a straightforwardly beneficial plan for mainstream media–friendly Biden-ism. That Trump is seemingly on board with this plan shows that the president either hasn't thought about this issue very hard or doesn't actually care about expanding the opportunities for conservative speech online. Or perhaps both.

Most likely both.

 

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Here’s What Donald Trump Should Do Before Inauguration Day

https://mises.org/wire/heres-what-donald-trump-should-do-inauguration-day

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States won’t have to formally certify their electoral college votes until December. But, assuming Joe Biden’s supporters do manage to push through the necessary 270 electoral votes, Donald Trump still has until January 20 to change military policy, pardon allies, unseat the Federal Reserve board of governors, and throw a wrench in the Deep State apparatus that has so long antagonized him.

But time is running out. What Trump does now could nonetheless strike a blow for the cause of restrained foreign policy, while reining in the intelligence state and placing barriers in front of Washington technocrats seeking to re-assert their power in Washington.

But what exactly should Trump be doing?

Fortunately, Lew Rockwell has recently compiled a list of the essentials. Noting that Trump should of course continue his legal challenges to the ballot counters in various states. But there are also concrete policy changes he can make right now, and, speaking to Trump, Rockwell concludes: “In the time until [January 20], you should act decisively against the deep state and the enemies of the American people.”

Step one: fire the worst and most antagonistic bureaucrats.

Speaking directly to Trump, Rockwell begins by noting "You should fire Anthony Fauci and Christopher Wray."

Fauci, of course, has long been one of the most enthusiastic advocates of economically crippling countless Americans families, throwing breadwinners out of work, and keeping them locked in their homes until “we get to the part of the curve where it goes down to essentially no new cases, no deaths for a period of time.”

FBI director Christopher Wray would be the next to go. Rockwell writes:

Christopher Wray has acted to undermine your administration. He pedals the fake charge that the Russians made you president in 2016, and he withheld from you the Hunter Biden “laptop from hell,” even though he had this since December. But you shouldn’t stop with him. As you well know, there is a cabal of FBI, CIA, and NSA agents who have acted to undermine you even before you took office. You should get rid of them. In fact, why do we need an FBI or a CIA at all? They are agencies of world disruption, and you would do the world a great deal of good by abolishing them.

Step two: pardon generously.

One of the best and most libertarian powers a president has is the ability to grant pardons. This is an essential check on the power of the federal bureaucracy and the federal courts. Trump should employ this power broadly:

The Left will stop at nothing to harm you and your friends if Biden gets in. You should immediately pardon yourself, your family, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and all the others who have stood up against the Left. I strongly suspect that “Judge” Sullivan, a pliant tool of the Left, is planning to sentence Flynn to a long prison term as soon as you are forced out of office. He needs to be pardoned to preclude that from happening. 

Step 3: fire the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. 

Although it is rarely acknowledged in discussions of law or policy, members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors are no more protected from being fired than are members of the president’s cabinet. That is, Trump doesn’t need permission from Congress to fire the entire board.

For years, the Fed has pursued a radical policy of money supply inflation by relentlessly expanding its portfolio. The purpose of all this has been to both prop up favored industries and pursue higher inflation targets. Rockwell quotes Ron Paul, who notes:

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently announced that the Fed is abandoning “inflation targeting” where the Fed aims to maintain a price inflation rate of up to two percent. Instead, the Fed will allow inflation to remain above two percent to balance out periods of lower inflation. Powell’s announcement is not a radical shift in policy. It is an acknowledgment that the Fed is unlikely to reverse course and stop increasing the money supply anytime soon.

Following the 2008 market meltdown, the Fed embarked on an unprecedented money-creation binge. The result was historically low interest rates and an explosion of debt. Today total household debt and business debt are each over 16 trillion dollars. Of course, the biggest debtor is the federal government. The explosion of debt puts pressure on the Fed to keep increasing the money supply in order to maintain low interest rates. An increase in rates to anything close to what they would be in a free market could make it impossible for consumers, businesses, and (especially) the federal government to manage their debt. This would create a major economic crisis.

The Fed has also dramatically expanded its balance sheet since 2008 via multiple rounds of “quantitative easing.” According to Bloomberg, the Fed is now the world’s largest investor and holds about one-third of all bonds backed by US home mortgages.

Congress has expanded the Fed’s portfolio by giving the central bank authority to make trillions of dollars of payments to business as well as to state and local governments in order to help the economy recover from the unnecessary and destructive lockdowns….

These policies will prove to be disastrous for American families and the economy overall. And the members of the Fed board are all poised to enjoy a free pass.

By firing the entire Board, Trump would of course not prevent similar bureaucrats from taking over the same reins. But there’s also no reason to help the Fed project a false image of “public service” and stability. Firing the entire board would force the Board’s members into the spotlight where they would have to publicly justify their cushy jobs, while perhaps letting the mask slip on the Fed’s longstanding ruse surrounding its alleged “apolitical” policymaking.

Step four: bring the troops home.

Rockwell writes:

There is another vital thing you can do. In your first term, you often complained about NATO and our involvement in foreign quarrels that don’t concern us. You would render the American people an inestimable service if you withdrew America from NATO and brought all American troops home. The American empire is vast. As Laurence Vance has pointed out,

According to the latest edition of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Base Structure Report: “The DoD manages a worldwide real property portfolio that spans all 50 states, 8 U.S. territories with outlying areas, and 45 foreign countries.” The majority of these foreign sites are located in Germany (194 sites). The DOD owns, leases, or controls 47,288 buildings occupying 481,651 acres on foreign soil. The DOD has acknowledged the existence of about 800 U.S. military bases in 80 countries, but we know from the work of Nick Turse and the late Chalmers Johnson that that number is closer to 1,000.

Why not do what you can to end this empire and return America to our traditional policy of nonintervention?

For decades, the national garrison state has coasted on the fact US troops have been stationed all across the globe. The status quo thus becomes one state of global intervention, while withdrawing the troops is portrayed as some sort of radical departure from established policy. Trump could reverse this situation by withdrawing enormous numbers of troops from global deployments right now. The Pentagon would of course drag its feet. But the Pentagon likes to claim it can deploy troops across the globe on a moment's notice. Why is it the process is impossible in reverse? An aggressive drive toward demobilization would create a new status quo, and put the onus on the Pentagon and its allies who would then have to justify countless new deployments across Asia, Europe, and Africa. As the Obama administration's failed attempt at a large-scale Syria invasion showed us, the public's appetite for new deployments may not be as large as the interventionists hope. But the debate must be forced onto the public stage by bringing the troops home now. 

Step five: the president must reject calls for “unity”:

You should also reject the false appeals for unity of Biden and his allies. America is not unified. The heartland of America stands opposed to the coastal elites, illegal immigrants, and disaffected minority groups who seek to exploit the rest of us. We need more disunity, not unity.

Coming from politicians, calls for unity are almost never anything other than a ploy designed to consolidate power for the regime. The Biden administration's latest remonstrances for unity are no different. Moreover, as the election has shown, the United States is indeed not unified at all. Voting returns suggest perhaps half the country views the incoming administration with a mixture of fear and suspicion. Slapping a thin patina of "unity" on top of a deeply divided electorate won't solve the nation's problems. 

Indeed, if Trump is on the way out, his final months should be characterized by a rejection of "unity" in which the outgoing adminsitration paves the way for the new administration to seamlessly begin implementing an entirely new round of freedom-destroying policies. If anything, now is the time for maximize disunity in Washington with radical steps the Trump has been too cautious to attempt before. 

And as one of the comments to this commentary states  Mr. Trump should pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

 

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I am on board with liberal use of the power of the pardon to protect people from reprisals when there’s a shift in the political winds. And you had better believe there are going to be a bunch of new US Attorneys chomping at the bit. The rest of it is bordering on silly. Amounts to a kid smashing the checker when he realizes he isn’t going to win the game.

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On 11/10/2020 at 1:34 PM, Bobref said:

I am on board with liberal use of the power of the pardon to protect people from reprisals when there’s a shift in the political winds. And you had better believe there are going to be a bunch of new US Attorneys chomping at the bit. The rest of it is bordering on silly. Amounts to a kid smashing the checker when he realizes he isn’t going to win the game.

Trump is gonna face a lot of state crimes in New York once his term is up. 

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Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/11/trump-election-fraud-disgraceful-endgame/

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President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14.

This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.

Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won — and won “by a lot.”

 

There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted.

Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned.

Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.

Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court.

In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors.

By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so.

Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state.

The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump’s flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction.

Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again.

Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.

Mr. Trump's childishness is in full display here.

 

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Trump Lost Because SCOTUS Answers to the Constitution, Not to Him

https://reason.com/2020/12/12/trump-lost-because-scotus-answers-to-the-constitution-not-to-him/

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Outgoing President Donald Trump and his most fervent liberal critics seem to share one thing in common. Namely, they both appear to believe that Republican-appointed judges will be knee-jerk supporters of Republican politicians in court. The U.S. Supreme Court's actions last night should disabuse both sides of that simplistic and wrong-headed view.

On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a frivolous and error-riddled lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to directly intervene in the 2020 election by throwing out the results in four states—Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin—that went for President-elect Joe Biden. On Friday night, the Supreme Court wiped that nonsense from its docket with the eagerness of someone wiping dog excrement from the bottom of a shoe.

"The State of Texas's motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution," the Court's order declared. "Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot." In short, SCOTUS answers to the Constitution, not to Trump.

Two members of the Court, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, did note that, in their view, the Court is duty-bound to let parties file a bill of complaint in a case that falls within the Court's "original jurisdiction," a category that, per Article III, includes "Controversies between two or more States."

But Alito, joined by Thomas, also said this: "I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief." The other relief sought by Texas in this case was the judicial invalidation of the election results in four battleground states that voted for Biden. Therefore, what the Alito/Thomas legalese means in plain English is that Texas and Trump lost 9-0.

"This is the big one," Trump tweeted on Wednesday, referring to the Texas suit. It sure was, though not in the way that Trump meant.

"If the Supreme Court ultimately rejects the far-fetched lawsuit that was filed this week by Texas, as I suspect it will," I recently wrote, "Trump's judicial humiliation will be complete."

With this case dead and buried, Trump's judicial humiliation is complete.

 

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Trump Threatens to Sink COVID-19 Relief Bill Unless Congress Cuts Wasteful Spending, Spends More on $2,000 Stimulus Checks

https://reason.com/2020/12/22/trump-threatens-to-sink-covid-19-relief-bill-unless-congress-cuts-wasteful-spending-spends-more-on-2000-stimulus-checks/

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COVID-19 relief might now be in jeopardy following a late-night rant from President Donald Trump, who demanded that Congress cut wasteful spending from its $2.3 trillion spending package while also approving additional spending: $2,000 stimulus checks for all Americans.

"The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated," said Trump in his remarks Tuesday evening. "It truly is a disgrace."

The 5,000-page, $2.3 trillion legislative package passed by Congress on Monday included two different bills: a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and the $900 billion dedicated to pandemic relief.

pic.twitter.com/v9Rdjz6DNu

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020

 

"It's called the COVID relief bill but it has almost nothing to do with COVID," said Trump, referring to the two bills interchangeably.

Of particular concern to the president were a number of admittedly dubious appropriations for foreign aid, scientific research, and federal facilities in the omnibus spending bill.

"This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia, $134 million to Burma, $1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment," said Trump. "$40 million for the Kennedy Center which is not even open for business. $1 billion for the Smithsonian, and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art. Likewise, these facilities are essentially not open."

In total, Trump explicitly named some $4 billion in spending he considered wasteful.

"Despite all this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hard-working taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments and not enough money is given to small businesses and in particular restaurants," said Trump, possibly referencing the exclusion of the $120 billion RESTAURANTS Act from the coronavirus relief bill.

The president said Congress should get rid of a two-year sunset clause on a tax deduction for business meals included in the package, increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person, and cut some of the aforementioned wasteful spending.

"I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to delivery a COVID relief package and maybe that next administration will be me," said Trump, referencing his apparent belief that he might somehow stay in office despite, you know, losing the election.

Trump's support for $2,000 stimulus checks is not new. The Washington Post reports that his advisers talked him out of that demand at the last minute, lest he endanger the entire relief package.

To be sure, the president's broadsides against a spending deal that includes lots of money for "lobbyists, foreign countries, and special interests" is certainly welcome, and, frankly, on target. The president was also right to criticize the rushed legislative process that sent this special interest-laden spending package to his desk.

The trouble is that the conditions Trump outlined for supporting relief legislation would make the bill much worse. Middle-class Americans do not need an additional $2,000 in federal support. A $900 billion relief bill that includes generous, targeted benefits—including expanded unemployment benefits, relief for renters, and boosted food stamp spending—doesn't need more spending on universal programs that will mainly benefit Americans who are currently receiving a paycheck.

The $1,200 stimulus checks included in the CARES Act cost taxpayers roughly $300 billion. Upping stimulus checks to $2,000 from the current $600 amount would tack on roughly $350 billion to the coronavirus relief bill's costs. In exchange, Trump is demanding to cut some $4 billion or so in frivolous spending.

One need not be a deficit hawk to understand that the math doesn't add up.

 

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Trump relents, signs COVID relief, averts federal shutdown

https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-florida-coronavirus-pandemic-financial-markets-bills-f750c127c0d39a62a86ca39ef11ae7db

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package, ending days of drama over his refusal to accept the bipartisan deal that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.

The deal also provides $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as an increase in food stamp benefits.

The signing Sunday, at his private club in Florida came as he faced escalating criticism over his eleventh-hour demands for larger, $2,000 relief checks and scaled-back spending even though the bill had already passed the House and Senate by wide margins. The bill was passed with what lawmakers had thought was Trump’s blessing, and after months of negotiations with his administration.

His foot-dragging resulted in a lapse in unemployment benefits for millions and threatened a government shutdown in the midst of a pandemic. But signing the bill into law prevents another crisis of Trump’s own creation and ends a standoff with his own party during the final days of his administration.

It was unclear what, if anything, Trump accomplished with his delay, beyond angering all sides and empowering Democrats to continue their push for higher relief checks, which his own party opposes.

In his statement, Trump repeated his frustrations with the COVID-19 relief bill for providing only $600 checks to most Americans instead of the $2,000 that his fellow Republicans already rejected. He also complained about what he considered unnecessary spending by the government at large.

“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,” Trump said in the statement.

While the president insisted he would send Congress “a redlined version” with items to be removed under the rescission process, those are merely suggestions to Congress. The bill, as signed, would not necessarily be changed.

Democrats, who have the majority in the House, immediately vowed to prevent any cuts. Democrats “will reject any rescissions” submitted by the president, said Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, chair of the Appropriations Committee.

Lawmakers now have breathing room to continue debating whether the relief checks should be as large as the president has demanded. The Democratic-led House supports the larger checks and is set to vote on the issue Monday, but it’s expected to be ignored by the Republican-held Senate, where spending faces opposition. For now, the administration can only begin work sending out the $600 payments.

Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, a conservative who supported Trump’s extraordinary and futile challenge of the election results, counted himself Monday among the opponents of a more generous relief package and Trump’s call for higher payments.

“It’s money we don’t have, we have to borrow to get and we can’t afford to pay back,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” ”Someone’s got to show me how we’re going to pay for it. How far before we all go into debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy?”

But Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York said she was open to the idea of $2,000 checks. “Many Americans are in dire need of relief,” she said on the show.

Altogether, Republicans and Democrats alike swiftly welcomed Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law.

“The compromise bill is not perfect, but it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “I thank the President for signing this relief into law.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the signing “welcome news for the fourteen million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”

Others slammed Trump’s delay in turning the bill into law. In a tweet, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., accused Trump of having “played Russian roulette with American lives. A familiar and comfortable place for him.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would offer Trump’s proposal for $2,000 checks for a vote in Senate — putting Republicans on the spot.

“The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks,” Schumer tweeted. “Then I will move to pass it in the Senate.” He said no Democrats will object. “Will Senate Republicans?”

Democrats are promising more aid to come once President-elect Joe Biden takes office, but Republicans are signaling a wait-and-see approach.

Congress will push ahead Monday, with the House expected to vote to override Trump’s veto of an annual Defense bill, confronting the president on another big issue in the final days of the session. The Senate is expected to follow on Tuesday.

In the face of growing economic hardship, spreading disease and a looming shutdown, lawmakers spent Sunday urging Trump to sign the legislation immediately, then have Congress follow up with additional aid. Aside from unemployment benefits and relief payments to families, money for vaccine distribution, businesses and more was on the line. Protections against evictions also hung in the balance.

“What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said of Trump’s delaying tactic before the president signed the law. “So many people are hurting. ... It is really insane and this president has got to finally ... do the right thing for the American people and stop worrying about his ego.”

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said he understood that Trump “wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire.”

Toomey added: “So I think the best thing to do, as I said, sign this and then make the case for subsequent legislation.”

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said too much is at stake for Trump to “play this old switcheroo game.”

“I don’t get the point,” he said. “I don’t understand what’s being done, why, unless it’s just to create chaos and show power and be upset because you lost the election.”

Washington had been reeling since Trump turned on the deal. Fingers pointed at administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as lawmakers tried to understand whether they were misled about Trump’s position.

“Now to be put in a lurch, after the president’s own person negotiated something that the president doesn’t want, it’s just — it’s surprising,” Kinzinger said.

How come nobody cares about Mr. Brooks statement?  How will all this 'free money" be paid for?  The USA is truly far, far down the path to financial ruin,  and most members of the Uni-party turn a blind eye to it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone else see the difference in the coverage of this hours long incident (singular) in DC versus the weeks/months long incidents (multiple) all over the country this past summer?  Or is it just me?

I do not condone the breaching of the Capital building, that was over the top.  Although I did see the video where the Capital Police removed barricades allowing the group to move closer to the building, and then actually opened the doors.  I also find it poignant that as the protesters were walking through the Rotunda, they were staying inside the ropes and filing in very orderly-like.  Did anyone else notice that the curfew was obeyed without protest?  And it's actually over today.......

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7 minutes ago, swordfish said:

Does anyone else see the difference in the coverage of this hours long incident (singular) in DC versus the weeks/months long incidents (multiple) all over the country this past summer?  Or is it just me?

I do not condone the breaching of the Capital building, that was over the top.  Although I did see the video where the Capital Police removed barricades allowing the group to move closer to the building, and then actually opened the doors.  I also find it poignant that as the protesters were walking through the Rotunda, they were staying inside the ropes and filing in very orderly-like.  Did anyone else notice that the curfew was obeyed without protest?  And it's actually over today.......

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Benedict Arnold. 

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1 hour ago, DanteEstonia said:

The coverage is different because this is the kind of BS that is seen in Latin America, not in the English-speaking world. There, I said it. 

First time since 1812 that the capitol had been taken over. 

You see the videos of Cops taking selfies w those people inside the capitol building? You see the videos where some cops just let them get through w rather ease? 

Ill say this. If this was a group of people representing BLM.. We would have 20+ dead, 40+ wounded and 100s in jail. 

This shouldn't happen in America what so ever... The people that did this are Traitors to the United States and should be treated as such and if people approve of this. You are Traitor towards America. 13 days till inauguration day. 

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41 minutes ago, TheStatGuy said:

First time since 1812 that the capitol had been taken over. 

You see the videos of Cops taking selfies w those people inside the capitol building? You see the videos where some cops just let them get through w rather ease? 

Ill say this. If this was a group of people representing BLM.. We would have 20+ dead, 40+ wounded and 100s in jail. 

This shouldn't happen in America what so ever... The people that did this are Traitors to the United States and should be treated as such and if people approve of this. You are Traitor towards America. 13 days till inauguration day. 

FYI - They (the Capital Police and the Secret Service) already have the identities of the people who committed those crimes and yes, they will be prosecuted as they should be.  And FTR - there were quite a few people of color in that crowd, admittedly not enough to make a difference, but don't claim it was just a bunch of white guys.

No - they are not traitors, but they are criminals......

I think the difference in the police activity has to do with this crowd not descending on the Police demanding to defund them or protesting against them.

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3 hours ago, TheStatGuy said:

Ill say this. If this was a group of people representing BLM.. We would have 20+ dead, 40+ wounded and 100s in jail. 

This shouldn't happen in America what so ever... The people that did this are Traitors to the United States and should be treated as such and if people approve of this. You are Traitor towards America. 13 days till inauguration day. 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRL1qlG0BmfgCvZEWx7aU0

Making this about race is yet another low for you, StatGuy.

 

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1 hour ago, Muda69 said:

Should Mr. Pence spearhead the process spelled out the 25th Amendment to have Mr. Trump removed from office?

 

He may be ticked off enough to do it.  I don't think it will be necessary though.  IMHO - DJT would likely resign before forcing Pence to invoke the 25th.

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5 hours ago, swordfish said:

I think the difference in the police activity has to do with this crowd not descending on the Police demanding to defund them or protesting against them.

If the pigs want to earn their pay, they need to earn it; and letting seditionists storm The Capitol, when the pigs have killed so many more for less, is dereliction of duty and theft of public money. 

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Wrestler Mick Foley asks Vince McMahon to boot Donald Trump from the WWE Hall Of Fame

https://news.avclub.com/wrestler-mick-foley-asks-vince-mcmahon-to-boot-donald-t-1846014570

Quote

In the sort of exciting development that’s normally saved for one of the bigger wrestling events, Mick Foley has jumped into the proverbial ring and come out swinging (metaphorically) against Donald Trump. It’s not the sort of matchup we would necessarily pay to see, but we would consider checking it out if, say, a friend had already paid and we didn’t need to be briefed on any overly convoluted wrestling storylines or anything. Foley has spent the last two days going hard against Trump on Twitter, as most of us have, with his most stand-out tweet coming in the midst of the right-wring terrorists’ occupation of the Capitol building yesterday when he asked WWE boss—and longtime Trump buddy—Vince McMahon to kick Trump out of the WWE Hall Of Fame:

 

Trump was inducted in 2013 by McMahon himself, joining previous celebrity honorees Pete Rose, Mike Tyson, and Drew Carey (no offense to Drew Carey, there just wasn’t a third example along those same lines). As noted by Politico a few years ago, Trump declared at the ceremony that the honor was bigger than “having the highest ratings on TV, being a best-selling author, or getting a spot on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.” See, here’s something that not a lot of people know about Trump: He really, really, really, really, really cares about what people think of him. Not in the sense that he wants people to like him, though, because a person like that would try and do things that they think will be popular. No, Trump wants people to like him for the things he’s going to do no matter what, because he wants to feel validated. We know he comes across as totally cool and confident all the time, so not everyone gets that there might be some insecurity deep in the black hole of megalomania where his heart is supposed to be, but we’re pretty sure this is a solid take.

Must the ultimate embarrassment for Mr. Trump.

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14 hours ago, swordfish said:

He may be ticked off enough to do it.  I don't think it will be necessary though.  IMHO - DJT would likely resign before forcing Pence to invoke the 25th.

Pelosi Says Congress Is 'Prepared' To Impeach Trump Again Unless Pence Invokes 25th Amendment: https://reason.com/2021/01/07/pelosi-says-congress-is-prepared-to-impeach-trump-again-unless-pence-invokes-25th-amendment/

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President Donald Trump may have a shot at becoming the first president in American history to be impeached twice.

In a Thursday afternoon announcement, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) said Congress "may be prepared to move forward with impeachment" unless the president's cabinet moves quickly to remove him via the 25th Amendment. Pelosi said Trump committed "an act of sedition" by inciting a riot on Wednesday afternoon that led hundreds of the president's supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol.

"The president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people," Pelosi said.

Earlier on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Trump to be removed from office by the 25th Amendment, which includes a mechanism allowing a majority of the president's executive cabinet, with the support of the vice president, to remove a president from power. That part of the 25th Amendment has never been invoked.

...

It's pretty obvious the entire Trump presidency was pretty much just one big trolling effort from start to finish, and it seems to have worked.

 

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16 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

If the pigs want to earn their pay, they need to earn it; and letting seditionists storm The Capitol, when the pigs have killed so many more for less, is dereliction of duty and theft of public money. 

What an incredibily disapointing statement ......   

Respect lost now.  

Used to think you were a thinker and provider of thoughtful at times discussion point.  

Lost in 1 post       Shameful 

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14 minutes ago, Coach Nowlin said:

What an incredibily disapointing statement ......   

Respect lost now.  

Used to think you were a thinker and provider of thoughtful at times discussion point.  

Lost in 1 post       Shameful 

I judge people, and professions, by their actions.

Here's one such action from a barnyard animal that will forever be burned in my mind-

 Of course NONE OF THAT WAS IN DC.

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The Capitol Riot Wasn’t a Coup. It Wasn't Even Close.

https://mises.org/wire/capitol-riot-wasnt-coup-it-wasnt-even-close

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On Wednesday, a mob apparently composed of Trump supporters forced its way past US Capitol security guards and briefly moved unrestrained through much of the capitol building. They displayed virtually no organization and no clear goals.

The only deaths were on the side of the mob, with one woman—apparently unarmed—shot dead by panicky and trigger-happy capitol police, with three others suffering non-specific “medical emergencies.”

Yet, the media response has been to act as if the event constituted a coup d’etat. This was “A Very American Coup” according to a headline at The New Republic. “This is a Coup” insists a writer at Foreign Policy. The Atlantic presented photos purported to be “Scenes From an American Coup.”

But this wasn't a coup, and what happened on Wednesday is conceptually very different from a coup. Coups nearly always are acts committed by elites against the sitting executive power using the tools of the elites. This isn’t at all what happened on Wednesday.

What Is a Coup?

A gang of disorganized, powerless mechanics, janitors, and insurance agents running through the capitol isn’t a coup. And if it was a coup attempt, it was so far from anything that might hope to succeed as a coup that it should not be taken seriously as such.

So how do we know a coup when we see one?

In their article “Global instances of coups from 1950 to 2010: A new dataset,” authors Jonathan M. Powell and Clayton L. Thyne provide a definition:

A coup attempt includes illegal and overt attempts by the military or other elites within the state apparatus to unseat the sitting executive.

There are two key components of this definition. The first is that it is illegal. Powell and Thyne note this “illegal” qualifier is important to include "because it differentiates coups from political pressure, which is common whenever people have freedom to organize."

In other words, protests, or threats of protest don’t count as coups. Neither do legal efforts such as a vote of no confidence or an impeachment. 

But an even more critical aspect of Powell’s and Thyne’s definition is that it requires the involvement of elites.

This can be seen in any stereotypical example of a coup d’etat. This generally involves a renegade military detachment, military officers, and others from within the state apparatus who can employ knowledge, skills, influence, coercive tools gained through membership in the regime’s elite circles.

The attempted coup in Japan in 1937, for example, was carried out by more than 1,500 officers and men of the Japanese imperial army. They nonetheless failed, likely because they miscalculated the amount of support they enjoyed among other officers. More recently, in the 2009 Honduran coup, the bulk of the Honduran Army turned on the president Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile. That was a successful coup. More famously, Chile’s 1973 coup was successfully led by Agusto Pinochet, the commander-in-chief of the Army, and this enabled him to shell the Chilean executive palace with military hardware.

Contrast this with nameless MAGA-hat-wearing flag wavers, and the inappropriateness of the term “coup” in this case should be blatantly obvious. With real coups, power is seized by a faction of the elite which has the ability to take control of the machinery of state indefinitely. Although some of Trump’s critics claim he was somehow responsible for Wednesday’s mob, it is clear that Trump was not coordinating or directing any sort of military operation through Twitter posts. There was no plan for holding power. Had those who invaded the capitol building managed to take control of the building for a time, there’s no reason to think this would somehow translate into control of the state. How would it? The real coercive power remained well ensconced within an apparently undivided military apparatus.

Moreover, it has been clear for years that the permanent technocracy which controls the day-to-day execution of federal administrative power (i.e., “the deep state”) has long been committed to undermining the Trump administration—from high ranking FBI agents, to military diplomats, to Pentagon officials. From where would Trump draw the necessary cooperation from elites to overturn more than 200 years of established norms in transfers of presidential power? In any case, the Biden administration is likely to be better for the state's elites than the Trump administration. There is no reason for any group of them to contemplate a coup against Biden.

Thus, if any of Wednesday’s capital rioters thought they were about to bring about a coup by smashing some windows in the capitol, they were engaging in thoroughly amateurish thinking. It’s unlikely, however, that more than a few of the rioters thought there was a coup d’etat afoot. It’s more likely most of them simply wanted to dramatically display their displeasure with the federal regime and to signal they weren’t going to placidly submit to whatever the American bureaucracy decided to dish out.

Nonetheless, we should not be surprised that the media has rushed to apply the term to the riot. This phenomenon was examined in a November 2019 article titled “Coup with Adjectives: Conceptual Stretching or Innovation in Comparative Research?,” by Leiv Marsteintredet and Andres Malamud. The authors note that as the incidence of real coups has declined, the word has become more common, but with modifiers attached.

Examples of these modifiers include “soft,” “constitutional,” “parliamentary,” and “slow-motion.” Numerous critics of the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, for example, repeatedly called it a "soft coup." The authors note this is no mere issue of splitting hairs, explaining that “The choice of how to conceptualize a coup is not to be taken lightly since it carries normative, analytical, and political implications.”

Increasingly, the term really means “this is a thing I don’t like.” But the term's use paints the non-coup participants as criminals poised to seize power illegally. By applying this term to the acts of a disorganized group of Trump supporters with no base of support among state elites, the pundits know exactly what they’re doing.

 

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