ON THE RECORD. . .
“Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any President.” -- Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
“… ignoring reality and leaving the Paris Agreement could go down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation’s history, isolating the US further after Trump’s shockingly bad European trip.” -- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
“Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about policy. Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about politics. Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about anything. He can get up and give a good speech. You listen to him talk about any topic and he wanders from sentence to sentence to sentence. So Steve Bannon is now the President of the United States. And that was more clear yesterday than ever before.”— “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough
People in covfefe houses shouldn't throw covfefe. -- Hillary Clinton ✔@HillaryClinton
“It’s a nightmare. They don’t know what their jeopardy is. They don’t know what they’re looking at. They don’t know if they’re a part of a conspiracy that might unfold. They don’t know whether to hire lawyers or not, how they’re going to pay for them if they do. It’s an unpleasant place.” — Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean on what it must be like to work in Trump’s White House.
The statement from Trump (about renegotiating the Paris agreement) is “like O.J. Simpson saying he’s going to go out and find the real killer.” --Former Secretary of State John Kerry. 6/04/17
“Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”-- Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) advocating for hunting down and killing all of the terrorists.
In 140-character increments, Mr. Trump diminished his own standing by causing a minor international incident, demonstrated that the loyalty he demands of the people who work for him isn’t reciprocal, set back his policy goals and wasted time that he could have devoted to health care, tax reform or “infrastructure week.” Mark it all down as further evidence that the most effective opponent of the Trump Presidency is Donald J. Trump. -- Wall Street Journal 6/05/17
“I think if you compare the two that Watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we’re confronting now.” — Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. 6/07/17
IN THIS ISSUE
1. The U.S. Is the Biggest Carbon Polluter in History.
The United States, with its love of big cars, big houses and blasting air-conditioners, has contributed more than any other country to the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is scorching the planet.
“In cumulative terms, we certainly own this problem more than anybody else does,” said David G. Victor, a longtime scholar of climate politics at UCSD. JUNE 1, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/01/climate/us-biggest-carbon-polluter-in-history-will-it-walk-away-from-the-paris-climate-deal.html
2. The $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia is fake news
Last month, President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and his administration announced that he had concluded a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom. Only problem is that there is no deal. It’s fake news.”
I’ve spoken to contacts in the defense business and on the Hill, and all of them say the same thing: There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts. Many are offers that the defense industry thinks the Saudis will be interested in someday. So far nothing has been notified to the Senate for review. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arms sales wing of the Pentagon, calls them ‘intended sales.’ None of the deals identified so far are new, all began in the Obama administration. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2017/06/05/the-110-billion-arms-deal-to-saudi-arabia-is-fake-news/
3. Andy Borowitz: Calling Earth A “loser,” Trump Vows To Make Better Deal With New Planet
In a dramatic announcement from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Donald J. Trump pronounced the planet Earth a “loser” and vowed to make a better deal with a new planet.
“Earth is a terrible, very bad planet,” he told the White House press corps. “It’s maybe the worst planet in the solar system, and it’s far from the biggest.”
Trump blasted former President Barack Obama for signing deals that committed the United States to remain on the planet Earth indefinitely. “Obama is almost as big a loser as Earth,” Trump said. “If Obama was a planet, guess what planet he’d be? That’s right: Earth.”
When asked which planet he would make a new deal with, Trump offered few specifics, saying only, “The solar system has millions of terrific planets, and they’re all better than Earth, which is a sick, failing loser.”
Trump’s remarks drew a strong response from one of the United States’ nato allies, Germany’s Angela Merkel. “I strongly support Donald Trump leaving the planet Earth,” she said. http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/
4. The DAILY GRILL
We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety! -- Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
This piece of shit is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He's an embarrassment to humankind. -- Reza Aslan @rezaaslan
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!" -- -- Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
“Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police and all of us need to do is ensure that we’re as safe as we possibly can be. London will never let terrorists win.” -- London Mayor Sadiq
"The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” — Spicer explaining to reporters why the president tweeted “covfefe."
"I think you said something before the show that really kind of like, summed it up. You said… it’s like a kid pooping their pants and then saying, ‘I meant to do that.'" -- Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe.
The EPA chief, on multiple shows on Sunday, said that the coal industry has grown by 50,000 job over the last few months.
U.S. coal production fell in the first quarter of 2017 after two straight quarters of growth, while the average number of coal miners increased by 586, or about 1.1%.-- Data DIspatch
Daily Caller and Breitbart claimed about 5,000 people showed up in Ottawa to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and to show favor for Donald Trump, whom protest organizer Mike Waine called a “smart man.”
Ottawa Police Const. Marc Soucy confirmed a protest was planned for Parliament Hill. He said he couldn’t confirm the numbers but estimated the crowd was “less than 100.”
TRUMP'S MISTATMENTS ABOUT THE PARIS ACCORDS
“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.” -- Trump
This is false. The agreement is nonbinding and each nation sets its own targets. There is nothing in the agreement that stops the United States from building coal plants or gives the permission to China or India to build coal plants. -- WA Post Fact Checker
“Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs — not what we need.” --Trump
Trump cited a slew of statistics from a study that was funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation, foes of the Paris Accord - figures must be viewed with a jaundiced eye. -- WA Post Fact Checker
“Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree — think of that, this much — Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount.” --Trump
John Reilly, lead author of the MIT report, said he “disagrees completely” with Trump’s characterization that the 0.2 degree cut is a “tiny, tiny” amount that is not worth pursuing. As a part of the deal, countries reexamine their commitments and can exceed or extend their pledges beyond 2030. The intent of the research was to say the Paris deal was a small step, and that more incremental steps need to be taken in the long run. -- WA Post Fact Checker
The green fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion. Nobody else is even close. Most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. That’s where they came.” -- Trump
It is incorrect that other countries have not contributed to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. In fact, 43 governments have pledged money to the fund, including nine developing countries. The countries have pledged to pay $10.13 billion collectively, and the U.S. share is $3 billion. As of May 2017, the United States contributed $1 billion of the $3 billion it pledged. Trump implies that the money was taken out of U.S. defense monies. But the U.S. contributions were paid out of the State Department’s Economic Support Fund, one of the foreign assistance programs to promote economic or political stability based on U.S. strategic interests. -- WA Post Fact Checker
“China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years, 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.” --Trump
China, in its Paris Accord commitment, said that, compared to 2005 levels, it would seek to cut its carbon emissions by 60 to 65 percent per unit of GDP by 2030. India said it would reduce its emissions per unit of economic output by 33 to 35 percent below 2005 by 2030; the submission does seek foreign aid to meet its goals and mitigate the costs. -- WA Post Fact Checker
The president referred to a published study to claim that the climate pact would result in “as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025,” of which 440,000 would be in manufacturing. By 2040, he said, the losses would balloon to 6.5 million industrial jobs, or $3 trillion in lost economic output, or about $7,000 in reduced income for the average household. --NY Times Fact Check
A raft of studies — from environmental organizations, Citibank, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — argue that a failure to mitigate the effects of climate change could cost the economy trillions of dollars. --NY Times Fact Check
“If all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be negligible,” curbing temperature rise by “less than .2 degrees Celsius in 2100.” - White House citing a study from MIT:
The co-founder of the MIT program on climate change says the administration is citing an outdated report, taken out of context. Jake Jacoby said the actual global impact of meeting targets under the Paris accord would be to curb rising temperatures by 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. -- AP Fact Check
The Paris climate accord “would effectively decapitate our coal industry, which now supplies about one-third of our electric power.” - White House
The U.S. coal industry was in decline long before the Paris accord was signed in 2015. The primary cause has been competition from cleaner-burning natural gas, which has been made cheaper and more abundant by hydraulic fracturing. Electric utilities have been replacing coal plants with gas-fired facilities because they are more efficient and less expensive to operate. --AP Fact Check
“According to a study by NERA Consulting, meeting the Obama administration’s requirements in the Paris Accord would cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion over the next several decades. By 2040, our economy would lose 6.5 million industrial sector jobs — including 3.1 million manufacturing sector jobs.” - White House
This study was paid for by foundations controlled by the Koch brothers, owners of refineries and more than 4,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines. -- AP Fact Check
5. In Trump’s White House, Everything’s Coming in ‘Two Weeks’
Trump’s habit of self-imposing — then missing — two-week deadlines for major announcements has become a staple of his administration as it’s struggled to amass policy wins. The president has used two-week timelines to sidestep questions from reporters or brag to CEOs at the White House. But his pronouncements have also flummoxed investors, Congress and occasionally even members of his staff. https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-06/in-trump-s-white-house-everything-s-coming-in-two-weeks
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
Fox News lets Ted Nugent call in to claim his invitation for Obama to “suck on my machine gun” wasn’t a threat. Nugent previously claimed “I’ve never suggested anybody get hung except for one time after Benghazi” https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2017/06/02/fox-news-lets-ted-nugent-call-claim-his-invitation-obama-suck-my-machine-gun-wasn-t-threat/216769
Fox panel investigates whether or not the Wonder Woman movie is patriotic enough. Neil Cavuto: "Some are calling" the Wonder Woman movie "less American ... because her outfit isn't red, white, and blue"https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/06/02/fox-panel-investigates-whether-or-not-wonder-woman-movie-patriotic-enough/216768
Conservative media call for internment of Muslims following London attacks https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2017/06/05/conservative-media-call-internment-muslims-following-london-attacks/216794
Limbaugh: Propaganda from professors and comedians has “indoctrinated” young people to believe in climate change. Rush Limbaugh: "I think they thought they were creating armies of voters for Democrats, but I don't think they were intending to create an uncontrollable army of absolute idiots" https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/06/06/limbaugh-propaganda-professors-and-comedians-has-indoctrinated-young-people-believe-climate-change/216801
7. From the Late Shows
Full Frontal: Covfefe, Kushner & An Idiot Abroad: https://youtu.be/YzlFNmJRUf8
Full Frontal: Gianforte Body-Slammed the Vote: https://youtu.be/o-krxtaJ2-E
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Cartoon Donald Trump Can't Stop Tweeting: https://youtu.be/hAPqNZK7Xms
The Late Late Show with James Corden: James Corden Celebrates London: https://youtu.be/tyPafExkiAY
8. Tweeting and Fuming, Trump Spirals Further Into Crisis
With Trump’s 37 percent job-approval rating or this Thursday's upcoming testimony by former FBI Director James Comey it’s easy for political observers to become numb to every controversy and crisis coming from the White House. But this bears emphasizing: This is a president who, day after day, is destroying his credibility. http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/tweeting-fuming-trump-spirals-further-crisis-n768211
9. Trump’s Guiding Principle Is Undoing Obama’s Agenda
With Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, it’s hard not to conclude that the guiding philosophy of Trump’s first four months in office has been to rollback Barack Obama’s agenda — or do what Obama refused to do.”
Yes, Trump campaigned on many of these positions (although the military action in Syria contradicted what he had said in the past on the issue). And yes, all new presidents who hail from a different political party typically break — in one way or another — from their predecessors. But what’s different about Trump’s breaks with Obama is that he really hasn’t outlined a better way forward… These anti-Obama actions have been mostly symbolic. But what’s been missing is a clear alternative — other than just going back to where things were before 2009.” June 1, 2017 http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/trump-s-guiding-principle-so-far-has-been-undoing-obama-n766986
10. Democrats’ Bid to Regain Hold on House Begins in California
If Democrats have any chance of capturing the 24 Republican seats they need to take back control of the House, the road to victory starts here in California, and particularly in Orange County, a former conservative bastion that favored Hillary Clinton in 2016. It was the first time the county had voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.
All 14 members of the California Republican congressional delegation voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including seven who, like Mr. Issa, represent districts that voted for Mrs. Clinton. Four of those come from districts that include Orange County. June 1, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/us/democrats-bid-to-regain-hold-on-house-begins-in-california.html
11. How Jared Kushner built a luxury skyscraper using loans meant for job-starved areas
They worked with state officials in New Jersey to come up with a map that defined the area around 65 Bay Street as a swath of land that stretched nearly four miles and included some of the city’s poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods. At the same time, they excluded some wealthy neighborhoods only blocks away.
The tactic — critics liken it to the gerrymandering of legislative districts — made it appear that the luxury tower was in an area with extraordinarily high unemployment, allowing Kushner Companies and its partners to get $50 million in low-cost financing through the EB-5 visa program. June 1, 2017 https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/jared-kushner-and-his-partners-used-a-program-meant-for-job-starved-areas-to-build-a-luxury-skyscraper/2017/05/31/9c81b52c-4225-11e7-9869-bac8b446820a_story.html
12. So Much for Draining the Swamp!
“The White House disclosed Wednesday evening that it has granted ethics waivers to 17 appointees who work for President Trump and Vice President Pence, including four former lobbyists,” the Washington Post reports.
“The waivers exempt the appointees from certain portions of ethics rules aimed at barring potential conflicts of interest. In letters posted on the White House website, the White House counsel’s office wrote that the waivers were in the public interest because the administration had a need for the appointees’ expertise on certain issues.”
“The rate at which the Trump White House has handed out waivers is far faster than that of the Obama administration, which issued 17 exemptions for White House appointees over eight years.” http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/trump-ethics-waivers-lobbyists
13. Trump’s Support Drops in Military Communities
An analysis of Gallup polling data comparing the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency to the month of May shows that Trump’s job approval in military counties dropped sharply in the last month – from an average 51% approval and 41% disapproval in the first 100 days to 43% approval and 52% disapproval for May. http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/trump-s-support-drops-military-communities-n768036
14. White House Tells Agencies to Ignore Democrats
The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers’ oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Trump.
At meetings with top officials for various government departments this spring, Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats.
It appears to be a formalization of a practice that had already taken hold, as Democrats have complained that their oversight letters requesting information from agencies have gone unanswered since January, and the Trump administration has not yet explained the rationale. June 2, 2017 http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/02/federal-agencies-oversight-requests-democrats-white-house-239034
1. Jonathan Chait: Trump’s Budget Director Declares War on Math
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is furious with the Congressional Budget Office. Inconveniently for Mulvaney, but quite intuitively, the CBO estimates that the Republican plan to eliminate a trillion dollars in subsidies for health-insurance coverage will result in a very large number of people no longer being able to obtain health insurance.
Mulvaney charges the CBO with hopeless liberal bias. “We’re hearing now that the person in charge of the Affordable Health Care Act methodology is an alum of the Hillarycare program in the 1990s who was brought in by Democrats to score the ACA,” he says. (In fact, the CBO’s 2010 forecast of the ACA proved highly accurate.) Mulvaney suggests that Congress stop paying so much attention to the biased liberal CBO.
Mulvaney proposes to ignore those numbers and instead rely on numbers made up by people who don’t even pretend they’re real. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/trumps-budget-director-declares-war-on-math.html
2. Amanda Kerri: The Simple Truth on Trump: He's Dumb as Rocks
Over the period of Donald Trump’s political career, from candidate to president, there have been assessments of his personality and history that have ranged from shrewd businessman to Machiavellian strategist to narcissist to huckster. People have called him clever and clueless, a showman and a showboat. Everyone has a take on Trump, and after this past week, I finally have to conclude that almost all of these are wrong. There’s only one correct take on Trump — he is probably the dumbest man alive.
No, really, the man is as bright as a one-watt bulb. The wheels are turning, but the hamster is dead. The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but there’s no train of thought coming. If there is one easily quantifiable thing to be said about Trump, it’s that with enough money and lawyers, the most slack-jawed goon can succeed. Well, only if he’s a straight cis white male.
Trump is probably the best argument against capitalism, reality television, and bankruptcy laws. He’s the beneficiary of thousands of years of human advancement, because someone as thick as him usually got eaten by wild animals early in their life. Only a person who has succeeded due to enough sycophants mopping up behind him and enough money to hire the kinds of lawyers that make the higher order of demons recoil in disgust could have made it this far. Everyone says that he’s this great showman and this great businessman, but if he’s honestly this bad at media manipulation and strategy, I really have to wonder how many times he thought he was the con man but was actually the mark? I guess the only person who can answer that is Vladimir Putin, and I don’t think he’ll stop laughing at us long enough to tell. http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/5/17/simple-truth-trump-hes-dumb-rocks
3. NY Times Editorial: Our Disgraceful Exit From the Paris Accord
Only future generations will be able to calculate the full consequences of President Trump’s incredibly shortsighted approach to climate change, since it is they who will suffer the rising seas and crippling droughts that scientists say are inevitable unless the world brings fossil fuel emissions to heel.
But this much is clear now: Mr. Trump’s policies — the latest of which was his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change — have dismayed America’s allies, defied the wishes of much of the American business community he pretends to help, threatened America’s competitiveness as well as job growth in crucial industries and squandered what was left of America’s claim to leadership on an issue of global importance.
The only clear winners, and we’ve looked hard to find them, are hard-core climate deniers like Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency and the presidential adviser Stephen Bannon, and various fossil fuel interests that have found in Mr. Trump another president (George W. Bush being the last) credulous enough to swallow the bogus argument that an agreement to fight climate change will destroy or at least inhibit the economy.
Mr. Trump justified his decision by saying that the Paris agreement was a bad deal for the United States, buttressing his argument with a cornucopia of dystopian, dishonest and discredited data based on numbers from industry-friendly sources. Those numbers are nonsense, as is his argument that the agreement would force the country to make enormous economic sacrifices and cause a huge redistribution of jobs and economic resources to the rest of the world. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/opinion/trump-paris-climate-change-agreement.html
4. David Brooks: Donald Trump Poisons the World
Good leaders like Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt and Reagan understand the selfish elements that drive human behavior, but they have another foot in the realm of the moral motivations. They seek to inspire faithfulness by showing good character. They try to motivate action by pointing toward great ideals.
Realist leaders like Trump, McMaster and Cohn seek to dismiss this whole moral realm. By behaving with naked selfishness toward others, they poison the common realm and they force others to behave with naked selfishness toward them.
By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, McMaster and Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough.
By looking at nothing but immediate material interest, Trump, McMaster and Cohn turn America into a nation that affronts everybody else’s moral emotions. They make our country seem disgusting in the eyes of the world. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/opinion/donald-trump-poisons-the-world.html
5. Paul Krugman: Trump Gratuitously Rejects the Paris Climate Accord
Why are so many people on the right determined to block climate action, and even trying to sabotage the progress we’ve been making on new energy sources?
Don’t tell me that they’re honestly worried about the inherent uncertainty of climate projections. All long-term policy choices must be made in the face of an uncertain future (duh); there’s as much scientific consensus here as you’re ever likely to see on any issue. And in this case, uncertainty arguably strengthens the case for action, because the costs of getting it wrong are asymmetric: Do too much, and we’ve wasted some money; do too little, and we’ve doomed civilization.
Don’t tell me that it’s about coal miners. Anyone who really cared about those miners would be crusading to protect their health, disability and pension benefits, and trying to provide alternative employment opportunities — not pretending that environmental irresponsibility will somehow bring back jobs lost to strip mining and mountaintop removal.
Beyond this, much of today’s right seems driven above all by animus toward liberals rather than specific issues. If liberals are for it, they’re against it. If liberals hate it, it’s good. Add to this the anti-intellectualism of the G.O.P. base, for whom scientific consensus on an issue is a minus, not a plus, with extra bonus points for undermining anything associated with President Barack Obama.
And if all this sounds too petty and vindictive to be the basis for momentous policy decisions, consider the character of the man in the White House. Need I say more? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/opinion/trump-gratuitously-rejects-the-paris-climate-accord.html
6. Michael Grunwald: Why Trump Actually Pulled Out Of Paris
“Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement was not really about the climate. And despite his overheated rhetoric about the ‘tremendous’ and ‘draconian’ burdens the deal would impose on the U.S. economy, Trump’s decision wasn’t really about that, either. America’s commitments under the Paris deal, like those of the other 194 cooperating nations, were voluntary. So those burdens were imaginary.
No, Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from this carefully crafted multilateral compromise was a diplomatic and political slap: it was about extending a middle finger to the world, while reminding his base that he shares its resentments of fancy-pants elites and smarty-pants scientists and tree-hugging squishes who look down on real Americans who drill for oil and dig for coal. He was thrusting the United States into the role of global renegade, rejecting not only the scientific consensus about climate but the international consensus for action, joining only Syria and Nicaragua (which wanted an even greener deal) in refusing to help the community of nations address a planetary problem.”
Congress doesn’t seem willing to pay for Trump’s border wall—and Mexico certainly isn’t—so rejecting the Paris deal was an easier way to express his Fortress America themes without having to pass legislation. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/01/why-trump-actually-pulled-out-of-paris-215218
7. Joshua Zeitz: Why Do They Hate Her?
For more than two years, Republicans did more than demonize her – they criminalized her, first through the Benghazi hearings (a congressional boondoggle if ever there was one), and later, by representing her use of a personal email server – a politically unwise decision, but one that resulted in not a single felony or misdemeanor charge – as a national emergency. Chants of “Lock Her Up” – Trump’s moniker, “Crooked Hillary” – the mock trial staged by Chris Christie, who these days is hardly in a position to threaten anyone with criminal prosecution. Nothing of this sort has ever transpired in American history. It created a toxic environment and false narrative that may have led especially gullible voters to believe that Clinton, if elected, would face imminent impeachment, removal and imprisonment. In its pursuit of this scorched-earth project, the GOP was aided by mainstream journalists who covered the email story far out of proportion to its legal consequence; bad actors who exploited today’s fractured media environment; and the Russian government. And then, of course, there was James Comey.
Criminalization worked with brutal precision, a point that Nate Silver hammered home in his assessment of Comey’s infamous letter to Congress of October 28. Headline: “The Comey Letter Probably Cost Clinton the election.” It goes a long way in explaining how a candidate with a favorability/unfavorability rating of 66-29 in mid-2012 ended her public career upside down, 41-57. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/03/why-do-they-hate-her-215220
8. Amy Davidson: Angela Merkel And The Insult Of Trump’s Paris Climate-accord Withdrawal
On Wednesday, at around the time that news outlets were reporting that President Donald Trump had decided to pull America out of the Paris climate accord, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was at the Berlin airport, greeting Premier Li Keqiang, of China. As their national anthems played, Li and Merkel stood on a red carpet that had been cut to look like a giant arrow. It seemed to point definitively away from Trump. There was a connection between the two moments that was more than symbolic. China has made it clear that, with America’s abdication, it sees Paris as a vehicle for its efforts to assert itself as a leader of the international community. (Whether this means that it would also make sure that carbon emissions fell is another matter.) And Merkel, during the past few days, seemed to have had it with Trump, in some significant measure because of his flashy contempt for the climate deal and for his fellow world leaders.
That contempt was well on display on Thursday afternoon, when Trump confirmed America’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. In his remarks, delivered in the Rose Garden, Trump attacked not only the terms of the deal but also the goodwill of those who argued for it. He spoke like a man unravelling a conspiracy or a con job. The climate accord had been pushed by America’s economic rivals, whose real reason for wanting us to stay in was “so that we continue to suffer this self-inflicted major economic wound,” and by “global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense.” Paris was just a “scheme to redistribute wealth outside of the United States.” Only Trump really cared about the environment, and he would get a much better deal for it. http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/angela-merkel-and-the-insult-of-trumps-paris-climate-accord-withdrawal
9. John Podesta: Trump just drew the battle lines for 2018 and 2020
A majority of Americans have come to expect the worst of President Trump, and he seems incapable of defying that expectation. His decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement takes him well beyond his cynical populist appeals and deep into the territory of know-nothingism. Unfortunately, he is dragging America and its prestige there with him.
Negotiating the Paris accord was complicated and required determined American diplomacy and the leadership of President Barack Obama, but the reason that 195 nations signed the agreement and made ambitious national commitments is rather simple: The science clearly shows that the world is warming at a rapid pace. If we collectively fail to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, our children and grandchildren will face higher sea levels, more violent storms, disrupted food supplies, catastrophic loss of infrastructure, climate-induced human migration and global insecurity. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-just-drew-the-battle-lines-for-2018-and-2020/2017/06/01/e90fcd5c-4707-11e7-bcde-624ad94170ab_story.html
10. Gail Collins: Trauma, Taxes and Trump
In the middle of his speech trashing the climate accord, President Trump suddenly blurted out that his “tax bill is moving along in Congress.” This was something of a surprise since, A) there is no tax bill and, B) nothing is moving along in Congress.
In theory, everyone could get together and come up with a plan to lower corporate tax rates while eliminating special-interest loopholes, make the system simpler for the average citizen and raise the rates on those who have the most ability to pay.
O.K., forget the last one.
Also, the chances that there will be a big bipartisan deal are somewhat smaller than a premature baby gnat. The last time Congress actually managed that was in 1986. (Really, 1986. It was a great year. Lady Gaga was born. “The Phantom of the Opera” debuted in London. The Dow was hovering around 4,000. Democrats and Republicans went out for drinks together after work.)
The Trump administration, however, does have its own plan, which balances tax cuts with the closing of tax loopholes. We know this because Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin testified about it before the Senate Finance Committee last week. So far it’s only one page long, and Mnuchin answered a great many questions by saying, “That’s a very good question.” JUNE 2, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/opinion/trauma-taxes-and-trump.html
11. Jonathan Chait: No, President Trump, the Paris Agreement Does Not Let China and India Steal Our Coal Jobs
Trump was never going to support the Paris climate agreement because a collective-action problem is one of the concepts he is unable to grasp. Paris is built around ameliorating a problem affecting the entire world. Trump only understands zero-sum logic. His speech announcing his decision to exit the agreement fell back on the nationalistic rhetoric of denouncing foreign plunder.
The deal is “a massive redistribution of wealth from the U.S. to other countries,” he insisted. China “can do whatever they want for 13 years,” he insisted. The agreement “doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it ships them out of the country,” to developing countries, which will get an “economic edge” over America.
Trump’s description of the agreement is so wildly at odds with reality that one must begin by reestablishing some basic foundation of reality. The first attempt to create a transnational climate agreement, the Kyoto Accord, applied exclusively to industrialized countries, on the grounds that they accounted for most of the carbon dioxide emissions. Eventually, this approach proved unrealistic, in part because the rapid industrialization of developing countries — especially China, with India following along — meant that developing countries must be brought in. The industrialized world has to rapidly decarbonize, and emerging economies have to create greener paths to industrialization. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/no-trump-china-and-india-arent-stealing-our-coal-jobs.html
12. Ryan Cooper: How the world can contain Trump's climate lunacy
Imagine if on Dec. 8, 1941, President Roosevelt had insisted in a speech before Congress that the Japanese navy had not attacked Pearl Harbor, and in fact anyone reporting such was part of a TORPEDO BOMBER HOAX. That would have harmed the national interest roughly on a scale with what President Trump did Thursday, with his announcement that he would be withdrawing America from the Paris climate accord.
His justifications for doing so were, unsurprisingly, incoherent claptrap. He said the agreement was both "draconian" and "non-binding," complained at length about a moderate fund to help developing countries transition to green energy, yet swore — ludicrously — that he "cares deeply about the environment" and would be open to a different agreement. It was obviously just a bunch of reverse-engineered fluff to justify a decision driven by ideology. http://theweek.com/articles/702733/how-world-contain-trumps-climate-lunacy
13. Andrew Sullivan: Can the West Survive Trump?
The gnawingly persistent question in the Trump years so far is a relatively simple one: Is this reparable? By which I mean: Can Trump’s admixture of malevolence, corruption, and incompetence be survived without permanent damage? Is this a minor heart attack from which this democracy and the world can soon recover … or is it a major one whose consequences are, in some respects, permanent?
The truth is: We don’t yet know (although Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord is beyond depressing). Can we at some point reconstruct a common set of facts after such a shameless torrent of lies and fantasies from the very top? Can some minimal level of decency and dignity be returned to the White House and to our public discourse? Is there any viable synthesis to be struck between the two Americas divided by a widening gyre of mutual incomprehension? The long run suggests all of this is possible, if currently hard to envision. Time heals. America survived the 1860s and the 1960s. But there’s one thing about today’s political darkness that will be close to impossible to undo, that’s the very concept of a united, democratic West. June 2, 2017 http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/can-the-west-survive-trump.html
14. Masha Gessen: Trump’s Incompetence Won’t Save Our Democracy
As someone who has spent years studying Mr. Putin — and as one of a handful of journalists who have had an unscripted conversation with him — I can vouch for the fact that he is a poorly educated, under-informed, incurious man whose ambition is vastly out of proportion to his understanding of the world. To the extent that he has any interest in the business of governing, it is his role — on the world stage or on Russian television — that concerns him. Whether he is attending a summit, piloting a plane or hang-gliding with Siberian cranes, it is the spectacle of power that interests him.
In the past few months, Americans too have grown familiar with the sight of a president who seems to think that politics consists of demonstrating that he is in charge. This similarity is not an accident (nor is it a result of Russian influence). The rejection of the complexity of modern politics — as well as modern business and modern life in general — lies at the core of populism’s appeal. The first American president with no record of political or military service, Donald Trump ran on a platform of denigrating expertise. His message was that anyone with experience in politics was a corrupt insider and, indeed, that a lack of experience was the best qualification.
This is one way an autocracy can come into being. In other words, it is Mr. Trump’s insistence on simplicity that makes him want to rule like an autocrat. Militant incompetence and autocracy are not in opposition: They are two sides of a coin. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/opinion/sunday/trumps-incompetence-wont-save-our-democracy.html
15. Maureen Dowd: Trump Stomps Planet Earth
We’ve been conditioned by Hollywood to see the president of the United States step up to the lectern to confidently tell us how he will combat the existential threat to the planet — be it aliens, asteroids, tidal waves, volcanoes, killer sharks, killer robots or a 500-billion-ton comet the size of New York City.
So it was quite stunning to see the president of the United States step up to the lectern to declare himself the existential threat to the planet.
And with a calming band playing us to our doom, just like on the Titanic.
You know you’re in trouble when beclouded Beijing, where birds go to die, replaces you as a leader on climate change.
America is living through a fractured fairy tale, in the grip of a lonely and uninformed mad king, an arrogant and naïve princeling, a comely but complicit blond princess and a dyspeptic, dystopian troll under the bridge. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/opinion/sunday/trump-stomps-planet-earth.html
16. Peter Rosenstein: Misogyny and Sexism still reign – when some question Hillary’s right to speak out
The time has come for us to celebrate Hillary and not attack her for continuing to speak out. After all she is a brilliant woman with a wealth of experience the nation and the world can benefit from. Judging from her commencement speech to the Wellesley class of 2017 her sense of humor is still intact as is her passion to support others and encourage them to strive for excellence and service. She has formed ‘Onward Together’ a PAC showing how ready she is to support the causes she cares about and help younger generations wanting to participate in the political process to succeed.
Hillary didn’t hurt the nation when she lost; the voters who cast their ballot for the moron now in the White House did that. There are 66 million of us who voted for her for many different reasons. I did so because I wanted to see a highly qualified woman in the White House. It was time for a brilliant, experienced, compassionate woman to follow the first African American President into the history books. My vote was cast for the woman with the ability to actually become the ‘leader of the free world’. The woman who stood for fairness, decency, economic equality and civil and human rights for all.
So what Trump and his campaign did to her; he did to us. Any collusion with the Russians against Hillary was collusion against us. He may have destroyed Hillary’s dream of becoming President but for the moment he destroyed our dreams for a better nation and a better world. But like Hillary we don’t give up, we get up; we fight back, we resist, and we make it clear to the rest of the world the people of the United States are better than the person temporarily sitting in the White House. 6/04/2017 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/misogyny-and-sexism-still-reign-when-some-question_us_5934a7ade4b0649fff211aa3
17. Charles M. Blow: Trump’s Incredible Shrinking America
My whole life I have taken for granted America’s leadership in the world. America’s might and majesty were cornerstones of international relations, cooperation and diplomacy. We were a beacon and balance to the world. America has been imperfect — sometimes disastrously so — but it always seemed to me bent toward the belief that America and the world could be made more perfect.
Well, that time has come to a close. America is exiting the world stage. Donald Trump is drawing the curtains.
On Trump’s first full weekday in office, he, and thus America, abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As The New York Times reported it:
“President Trump upended America’s traditional, bipartisan trade policy on Monday as he formally abandoned the ambitious, 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership brokered by his predecessor and declared an end to the era of multinational trade agreements that defined global economics for decades.”
Trump has had, and continues to have, an unhealthy and inexplicable admiration for the world’s strongmen, dictators and authoritarian regimes — Russia and Vladimir Putin stand out among the rest — while simultaneously chiding and chastising America’s traditional allies and those countries’ leaders. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/05/opinion/trump-paris-climate-accord-nato.html
18. Eugene Robinson: Trump Needs to Get a Grip
The statements President Trump issued on Twitter in recent days lead to a chilling conclusion: The man is out of control.
I know that is a radical thing to say about the elected leader of the United States, the most powerful individual in the world. And I know his unorthodox use of social media is thought by some, including the president himself, to be brilliant. But I don't see political genius in the invective coming from Trump these days. I see an angry man lashing out at enemies real and imagined -- a man dangerously overwhelmed.
On Monday, he started at 6:25 a.m. to comprehensively undermine his own legal team in its quest to win Supreme Court approval for a travel ban targeting Muslims. I can call it that, without legalistic hemming and hawing, because the president did so. Emphatically.
"People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN," Trump wrote.
Maybe he thinks that tweets, somehow, don't count. But of course they do. These are written statements typed by the president himself, and as such should carry more weight than a processed release from the White House press office, not less. Trump's lawyers -- arguing in support of the blocked measure, which would bar visitors from six majority-Muslim countries -- contend it is not a "travel ban" as such. Attorneys on the other side will surely use Trump's own words against him. 6/05/17 https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/06/05/trump_needs_to_get_a_grip_134109.html
19. Heather Hurlburt: The World Without America
It’s time to stop asking whether the Trump administration believes in U.S. global leadership as we’ve known it since World War II. The answer is clear now. It doesn’t.
It’s also time to stop hoping that the officials around Trump can prop up international institutions as fast as he assaults them. Cabinet secretaries and career diplomats may be soothing Americans, but they aren’t fooling foreigners.
No, President Trump and his enablers are ushering us into a new, post-American stage of global relations, at the speed of Twitter. Increasingly, Washington is viewed by other nations a problem to be managed rather than a leader to be sought. World leaders are building new relationships — and jockeying for the space we’ve left behind — as fast as they can, while the U.S. trashes its relations and fights over the last election at home. On security, politics, and economics, no one is waiting for the grown-ups, the midterms, or Vice-President Pence. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/the-world-without-america.html
20. Bess Levin: Oh Jesus: Did Trump Really Skim Charity Money From Kids With Cancer? Color Us Shocked
Among the many campaign scandals that would have sunk a lesser candidate, but somehow had little or no effect on Donald “Grab ’em by the p---y” Trump, were a series of damning allegations about the Donald J. Trump Foundation. An investigation by The Washington Post revealed that Trump hadn’t actually given his namesake charity any of his own money since 2008, and that since then, “all of the donations have been other people’s money—an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.” In many instances, the Post reported, Trump would then pass the money “on to other charities, which [were] often under the impression that it [was] Trump’s own money.” (Trump previously told the Post “I don’t have to give you records but I’ve given millions away,” though the paper was unable to verify the donations and Trump has not released his tax returns which would, among other things, detail his charitable giving.)
Other alleged business practices at the foundation were, somehow, even shadier. The Post found that Trump “spent more than a quarter-million dollars from [the Donald J. Trump foundation] to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses.” The charity also quite generously donated $25,000 in 2013 to then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s political fund-raising committee, at a time when Bondi was, totally coincidentally, deciding whether or not to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University (she ultimately decided not to; Trump and his institute of higher learning ultimately settled a class action brought by former students for $25 million). (Aides to both Trump and Bondi told the Post the gift and Trump University case had nothing to do with each other.) Then there was the somewhat bizarre story of Trump bidding on a six-foot-tall painting of himself at a fund-raiser auction and paying the $20,000 tab with the foundation’s money. In November, after the election, the Donald J. Trump Foundation admitted to self-dealing, a.k.a., per Politico, “using charitable funds to benefit the leaders of the organization or their family members.”
The disreputable, potentially illegal behavior apparently doesn’t end with Trump’s own namesake charity, however. According to a report by Forbes, Trump also allegedly used his son Eric’s charity to enrich his business at the expense of, wait for it, kids with cancer. http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06/donald-trump-eric-trump-charity