Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Last Call For Trump Cards, Con't

Above all, Donald Trump is motivated by petty vengeance against slights both real and perceived.

President Donald Trump is privately lashing out at one of his top allies, Ron DeSantis, angrily accusing the Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee of publicly betraying him.

The president has told close associates in recent days that he views DeSantis — who won his Aug. 28 GOP primary thanks to Trump’s strong support — as profoundly disloyal for distancing himself from the president’s assertion that the Hurricane Maria death toll was inflated by Democrats for political purposes.

“Ron DeSantis is committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after such a tragic loss of life. He doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated,” the DeSantis campaign said last week after Trump tweeted that "3000 people did not die” in Puerto Rico.

Trump’s comments unnerved Republicans across Florida, which is home to a burgeoning Puerto Rican population, leading DeSantis and other Republicans — including Senate hopeful Rick Scott — to publicly break with the president’s remark.

DeSantis’s reaction, however, particularly piqued the president. Trump views the former congressman as politically indebted to him, people familiar with the president’s thinking say, because he believes DeSantis owes his electoral success to him. The president has privately maintained that he was correct with his comments about the hurricane’s death toll, and has expressed frustration that DeSantis crossed him on the matter. 
Trump’s anger toward DeSantis is rooted in the extraordinary level of political capital he expended on behalf of the former congressman, who was little-known at the time he began his campaign for governor.

The president — over the wishes of some advisers — endorsed DeSantis in the primary, flew down to the state to campaign with him and lavished him with praise on Twitter. DeSantis, in turn, tied himself closely to Trump, at one point even running a TV ad which featured his infant child wearing a MAGA outfit.

One person close to the president described the situation as a “divorce.” At the moment, Trump has no plans to travel to Florida to campaign for DeSantis in the November general election, according to two GOP officials familiar with the president’s schedule.

You will lie for Dear Leader, or you will be destroyed by him.  Dear Leader's truth is the only truth. The Faithful Real Americans believe Dear Leader's truth, even when it is a lie.

Twenty-four percent of Americans believe that Hurricane Maria caused many fewer than 3,000 deaths, the survey finds, while 43 percent say the 3,000 figure is about right. Another third say they’re not sure.

Different respondents to the poll saw different versions of the question. Half of those surveyed were told that the Puerto Rican government had reported a death toll of 2,975 based on the results of an official study, and that Trump had rejected those numbers without offering any evidence that the figure was incorrect. The other half were simply asked for their estimation of the death toll, without any additional context.

The results among both groups, however, were nearly identical ― not only as a whole, but also when broken down along political lines. In both groups, more than 80 percent of Hillary Clinton voters accepted the official tally, but only about a tenth of Trump voters did.

Less than ten percent of Trump voters believe nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico.  Less than ten percent of these cultists believe thousands of Americans died.

For the rest, there is only Trump.

Shutdown Countdown, Con't

Republicans in Congress are scrambling to get funding bills passed ahead of midterm elections, and that apparently means dispensing with the usual months of shutdown threats and grandstanding and actually passing a funding bill with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The Senate is racing to avoid the third government shutdown of the year ahead of a looming end-of-the-month deadline.

Senators on Tuesday voted 93-7 to pass a sweeping $854 billion spending bill that includes funding for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education, which make up the lion’s share of total government spending.

Six Republicans, Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.), David Perdue (Ga.), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.), joined Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in voting against the bill, which also includes a short-term stopgap bill to fund the rest of the government through Dec. 7 and prevent a shutdown that would start Oct. 1.

Passage of the sweeping package of defense and domestic spending marks a significant victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who has dedicated weeks of floor time to government funding and avoiding another catch-all omnibus bill less than two months before the midterm election, where control of Congress hangs in the balance.

It’s the first time the Senate has approved funding for Labor, HHS or Education outside an omnibus bill since 2007, though even then the package was not completed on time. The bills normally get bogged down by fights over partisan riders, but Senate negotiators agreed early on to avoid attaching them to their legislation and were able to keep them out of the final House-Senate version of the minibus.

“These milestones may sound like inside baseball, but what they signify is a Senate that is getting its appropriations process back on track; a Senate that is attending to vital priorities for our country,” McConnell said.

Despite containing only two appropriations bills, the package represents roughly two-thirds of Congress’s 2019 spending. Of the $854 billion, $785 billion fell under agreed-upon budget caps, and the rest came from off-budget funds such as Overseas Contingency Operations.

It includes provisions for military pay raises, defense research, increases for Pell grants and the National Institute of Health, and workforce development training, among others.

The House is out this week but expected to take up the funding legislation next week, ahead of the September 30th deadline to keep the government funded.

Of course all this mess does is punt the countdown well into the holiday lame duck session, but by then it won't be Paul Ryan's problem anymore...and it may not be Mitch McConnell's problem either.

Goes to show you just how terrified Republicans are right now.

Trump Trades Blows, Con't

The Trump regime will officially levy tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports starting Monday, costing American consumers an extra 10% for the rest of this year, and a whopping 25% starting in 2019.

President Trump threw his biggest punch yet at China, imposing tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and gambling that American consumers are willing to pay more for popular products to wring trade concessions from Beijing.

With Monday’s announcement, roughly half of the $505 billion in goods that Americans buy annually from Chinese firms will face new import levies.

Unlike the $50 billion in Chinese products that Trump hit in the first tariff wave, in July — which fell mainly on industrial goods — Monday’s action will affect consumer products such as air conditioners, spark plugs, furniture and lamps.

Starting Sept. 24, American importers will pay an extra 10 percent tariff for the affected items, rising to 25 percent at the end of the year, according to senior administration officials, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.

China has vowed to retaliate against the latest U.S. tariffs with new import taxes on $60 billion in American products. If that happens, the president said he would immediately begin the process of approving tariffs on a further $267 billion in Chinese imports — effectively taxing everything Americans buy from China.

To recap, Trump is heading towards something like an extra $125 billion in costs to American consumers in a consumer-driven economy, a guaranteed recipe for economic disaster.  The best part?  Apparently he has no idea exactly how tariffs actually work.

At the White House, Trump wrongly said that “China is now paying us billions of dollars in tariffs” and he celebrated the Treasury Department collecting “tremendous amounts of money, which is great for our country.”

In fact, tariffs are taxes that are paid by Americans who import goods from abroad
. Through the end of August, the administration had collected nearly $22 billion in revenue because of its new tariffs, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. 

When consumer goods start skyrocketing in price just in time for holiday shopping, I'm sure we'll blame Obama for it all.  Hopefully the new Democratic Congress will put on the brakes.


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