Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Sides with Democrats Over Republicans As Trumpers Cheer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:47 pm

It’s time for all good Trump cultists to exercise your smiling muscles. Get ready to justify, rationalize, and applaud:

President Donald Trump sided with Democrats on adding a three-month extension of the U.S. debt limit and government spending to a hurricane-relief bill over the arguments of fellow Republicans, who pressed for a longer debt extension.

. . . .

Trump, after meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday at the White House, told reporters on Air Force One that the deal with Democrats would be “very good.”

“We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred — very important — always we’ll agree on debt ceiling automatically because of the importance of it,” the president said.

Republicans used to negotiate for some small measure of fiscal responsibility (remember “sequestration”?) in return for raising the debt ceiling. None of that any more! Always announce that you will always give in, is the first tactic of any successful negotiator. Haven’t you read The Art of the Deal?

“The president agreed with Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Pelosi to do a three-month CR and debt ceiling until December,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. . . .

Just hours earlier, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — who was in the meeting with Trump — had told reporters the Democratic proposal was “unworkable” and “ridiculous.”

Trumpers, who argued that one must vote Trump during the 2016 elections because the alternative was supporting a Democrat, were jubilant at Trump’s decision to support Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi over Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell:

Start your own obsequious pro-Trump spin now! It’s all the rage! Suggested line of defense: “anything that makes Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan angry is good.” (Do not recall that Ryan and McConnell called for Trump to be elected over Hillary. That never happened, citizen — and such thoughts are doubleplusungood.) If you twist yourself into a big enough pretzel, you’ll convince yourself that supporting Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi is the height of conservatism. The tools quoted above managed it. Why not you?

Hackery: it’s not just for breakfast any more!

This can only end with Trump switching parties and becoming a Democrat, and taking 1/3 of the Republican party with him. They’ll yell about the importance of fighting the left as they vote in Pelosi and Schumer, institute single-payer, expand entitlements, impose “ze and zir” transgender pronouns on America — and of course “automatically” agree to those “sacred” debt ceiling hikes. They’re “very important,” don’t you know.

At least I’ll never have to listen to people talking about how Trump fights the left any more.



[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

New York’s Mayor Lets His Inner Marxist Spread Its Wings

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:28 pm

[guest post by JVW]

If you’ve been on any right-leaning blogs, Facebook pages, or Twitter feeds today, you have probably seen the latest from far-left New York Mayor Warren Bill Wilhelm de Blasio. Apparently coasting to a sure reelection in a couple of months, and emboldened by the obnoxious caterwauling since last November’s election, de Blasio abandoned caution and made perhaps his most explicit Marxist statement in a recent interview with New York Magazine. In answer to a question regarding the hardest obstacle for him to overcome during his first term, the mayor let loose with the following:

What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development.

I’ll give you an example. I was down one day on Varick Street, somewhere close to Canal, and there was a big sign out front of a new condo saying, “Units start at $2 million.” And that just drives people stark raving mad in this city, because that kind of development is clearly not for everyday people. It’s almost like it’s being flaunted. Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.

The first paragraph is the one that is getting most of the media attention, but I find the second paragraph to be equally insightful into his wretched worldview. De Blasio both disdains private property and exalts the ability of central planners. In his reckoning, the government ought to decide where a building can be built, how large it can be, how many rooms it would be sub-divided into, how much in wages the builder would pay, how much the developer can charge for rent, and — should there miraculously be a profit born out of all of this hyper-regulated commerce — how much of the profit can be kept by the developer.

New York City is eight-and-one-half million people living on about 300 square miles of dry land, or an average of 27,000 people packed into each square mile of the city, twice the population density of London and 40% greater than that of San Francisco, two other cities where real estate is famously expensive. Gee, can anyone see why New Yorkers might take property rights kind of seriously and tend to guard them jealously? There is a great deal of truth to the idea that when you voluntarily choose to live in such tight quarters with your fellow man that you inevitably end up surrendering some rights to the collective good (try to have a charcoal grill on the fire escape of a Manhattan walk-up or find non-permit street parking in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood), but if New Yorkers reelect Bill de Blasio mayor in 60 days then they frankly deserve to live as vassals of the state. Lots of luck to them.


THE UNDRAINED SWAMP: Lobbyists Line Donald Trump’s Pockets by Buying Memberships at His Clubs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

USA Today has the results of a remarkable investigation out today, showing how lobbyists buy pricey memberships to Trump’s golf clubs — an arrangement that puts money in his pocket. Not his campaign’s coffers. His own pocket.

Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president, a USA TODAY investigation found.

Members of the clubs Trump has visited most often as president — in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia — include at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. Two-thirds played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online.

Because membership lists at Trump’s clubs are secret, the public has until now been unable to assess the conflicts they could create. USA TODAY found the names of 4,500 members by reviewing social media and a public website golfers use to track their handicaps, then researched and contacted hundreds to determine whether they had business with the government.

The review shows that, for the first time in U.S. history, wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally. It is a view of the president available to few other Americans.

Among Trump club members are top executives of defense contractors, a lobbyist for the South Korean government, a lawyer helping Saudi Arabia fight claims over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the leader of a pesticide trade group that sought successfully to persuade the Trump administration not to ban an insecticide government scientists linked to health risks.

What does your $100,000 initiation fee buy you? Here are a couple of examples:

Trump marked his 100th day in office by visiting a factory owned by a company run by a member of his New Jersey golf club.

Standing behind Trump as he signed two executive orders was Robert Mehmel, president of the company that owns the Harrisburg, Pa., factory and another company that sells radars and electronics to the military, including about $54 million worth of contracts last year.

We don’t even know who he’s playing golf with, or who is visiting the Oval Office, any more.

Citing privacy and national security, the White House has moved to keep secret the president’s interactions. Unlike the Obama administration, the Trump White House does not disclose the president’s golf partners, or whether he played. The Trump team also ended an Obama administration practice of releasing White House visitor logs.

This is both shocking and totally expected.

On one level, the blatant nature of the unscrupulousness of this arrangement is jaw-dropping. Anyone who complained about Hillary Clinton’s corruption should be beside themselves over this. Had Hillary engaged in this activity, rage on the right would have been stratospheric — and appropriately so.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing surprising about this. A President who retains a financial stake in any business is putting out a huge “bribe me!” sign on the White House lawn. If you elect an immoral rich guy with a 70-year history of putting himself first, don’t be surprised when he puts himself first.

Donald Trump was going to drain the swamp. The swamp now looks about as drained as Houston after Harvey.

This is banana republic stuff. The way we do stuff here in America is we have lobbyists bribe politicians’ campaigns. That alone supposedly enraged people to the point where — the story goes — they rose up, rejected the establishment, and . . . elected a guy who has lobbyists pay him personally.

And the same rubes who were supposedly upset about the pay-for-play nature of the old system will shrug their shoulders at all of this. They’ll cry #FAKENEWS!! and issue absurd and laughable partisan defenses of this corruption.

Great, great journalism by USA Today.

Too bad nobody will care.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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