More of Trump’s Political Correctness

The intelligence community has again said that President Trump is wrong:

On Tuesday, top intelligence officials described a different Iran than the president has, one that is not currently trying to make a nuclear bomb and appears to be complying with a 2015 nuclear agreement, even after Trump promised last year to withdraw from it.

On Syria, intelligence officials said the Islamic State would go on “to stoke violence” with thousands of fighters there and in Iraq, and with 12 networks around the world. They also said North Korea was not likely to permanently shed its nuclear weapons — contradicting a prediction Trump has made based on what he has called the “best” relationship the two nations have ever had.

Trump being Trump, he knows that this can’t be true:

In a series of posts the day after senior U.S. intelligence officials briefed Congress and directly contradicted some of Trump’s rosier estimations, the president reasserted his own conclusions and trumpeted his accomplishments on critical national security matters. He said the Islamic State’s control in parts of Iraq and Syria “will soon be destroyed” and there was a “decent chance of Denuclearization” in North Korea.

It’s a good time to remind everyone that when Trump says ‘fake news’ he means that he doesn’t like it, when he says something is wrong it’s probably right, and when his lips are moving or he’s sending out a tweet he’s lying. It’s all about his political correctness–it’s only right if it agrees with him.

Seven million more Americans uninsured because of Trump

As Kevin Drum notes, this isn’t sure yet but according to Gallup:

The U.S. adult uninsured rate stood at 13.7% in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Americans’ reports of their own health insurance coverage, its highest level since the first quarter of 2014. While still below the 18% high point recorded before implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate in 2014, today’s level is the highest in more than four years, and well above the low point of 10.9% reached in 2016. The 2.8-percentage-point increase since that low represents a net increase of about seven million adults without health insurance.

That’s a good job Donnie. Keep going and you can make even more Americans die.

An unsurprising result

I think most of us expected this:

In spring 2017, not long after President Trump took office, bullying rates among Virginia middle school students were 18 percent higher in places where voters had chosen Trump over Hillary Clinton, a study says.

There were no meaningful differences in bullying and teasing rates between Democratic and Republican localities before the 2016 election. But a statewide sample of more than 155,000 seventh- and eighth-grade students across Virginia’s 132 school districts suggested a correlation between voter preference and the rise in bullying after Trump was inaugurated.

They found that a 10-percentage-point increase in voters supporting Trump was associated with a 5 percent jump in middle school teasing because of race or ethnicity and an 8 percent increase in middle school bullying.

The paper is here. It includes this in their explanation for why they did the study:

Although rates of bullying have decreased since 2005 (Musu-Gillette et al., 2017), numerous media reports have claimed that racially and sexually related incidents are on the rise as a result of the 2016 presidential campaign (Bazelon, 2016). There have been more than 50 news reports of school bullying since the election in which students made statements linked to the newly elected president (Samaha, Hayes, & Ansari, 2017). The assumption of these reports is that the election of Donald Trump stimulated an increase in bullying behavior. The National Education Association (Blad, 2016), news analysts (Page, 2017), as well as experts on bullying (Juvonen, 2017) have characterized President Trump as engaging in bullying with his harsh and demeaning statements.

It is obviously difficult to demonstrate a causal link between statements by a public figure and schoolyard bullying. Nevertheless, there are incidents in which youth made threats and jeering statements that closely matched language used by President Trump (Thomsen, 2017). Such incidents are suggestive of the social learning model of aggression and classic studies showing how easily children model the aggressive behavior of adults (Bandura, 1971). However, skeptics have understandably questioned the evidential value of anecdotal observations (Kamenetz, 2016).

The President is a classic bully so it’s not surprising that some students might emulate him.

National emergency should mean impeachment

Democrats have said that they will not put funding for a border wall in the budget. President Trump’s response:

“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. Absolutely. We can do it,” Mr. Trump said. “I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it. But we can call a national emergency and do it very quickly. It’s another way of doing it. But, if we can do it through a negotiated process, we’re giving that a shot.”

If the president calls a national emergency when there is no emergency to get money for something the Congress has specifically failed to fund, I would think that would be grounds for impeachment even if it’s technically legal. Really, this would be the act of a dictator.

It’s also important to note that the president doesn’t care about the federal workers not being paid:

Mr. Trump expressed very little sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of federal employees going without a paycheck, saying many of them support his agenda.

“This really does have a higher purpose than next week’s pay,” Mr. Trump said. “And the people that won’t get next week’s pay or the following week’s pay, I think if you ever really looked at those people, I think they’d say Mr. President, keep going. This is far more important.”

Really, he doesn’t care:

Trump seemed to display little empathy for the 800,000 federal employees who have been furloughed or are working without being paid, saying that most workers support the shutdown and that the “safety net is going to be having a strong border because we’re going to be safe.” For workers who will not be able to pay their rent, Trump suggested that landlords would “work with” them and that he would encourage them to “be nice and easy” on their tenants.

I wonder how he thinks they’re going to buy food?

Trump makes America polluted again

It’s difficult to see how bad the Trump administration has been on the environment until you see a complete list like the NY Times has put together. It’s a list of 78 rules that have either been revoked or are in the process of being revoked. None of the rules by themselves are too terrible but put them together and you get:

All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could lead to at least 80,000 extra deaths per decade and cause respiratory problems for more than one million people, according to a separate analysis conducted by researchers from Harvard. That number, however, is likely to be “a major underestimate of the global public health impact,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health.

It might lead to an extra 8000 deaths a year, but it also might lead to higher corporate profits so who’s to say if it’s bad. Ok, I do.

Yeah, global warming is real

Donald Trump is being stupid again (or is that still) on Twitter:

Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?

And there’s no hunger in the world since I just ate lunch. Also, his government just released a report:

A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the U.S. economy by century’s end.

The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Donald Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth.

Trump has taken aggressive steps to allow more planet-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks, and has vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, under which nearly every country in the world pledged to cut carbon emissions.

The report puts the most precise price tags to date on the cost to the U.S. economy of projected climate impacts: $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise and $32 billion from infrastructure damage by the end of the century, among others.

For some reason, President Trump didn’t tweet about the report. He ignores stuff that doesn’t reinforce his worldview.

Trump tries to help Saudis

As Kevin Drum notes, this is pretty disgusting:

Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.

The effort includes directives to the Justice Department and FBI that officials reopen Turkey’s case for his extradition, as well as a request to the Homeland Security Department for information about his legal status, the four people said.

Trump and Erdogan also recently discussed another option to relieve tensions — the release of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was sentenced in May to 32 months in prison by a U.S. federal judge for his role in a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, two people familiar with the discussion said. Erdogan has criticized the case against Atilla as a political attack aimed at undermining his government.

Erdogan has wanted to extradite Gulen for years because he claims Gulen was behind the attempted coup against Erdogan, but the US hasn’t complied because there is no real evidence, Now the Trump administration would be willing to give up this long time resident of the US to ease pressure on Saudi Arabia after they killed another long time US resident. And, as KD notes, this isn’t the first time that the Trump administration has been willing to give up Gulen:

A year ago the Wall Street Journal passed along a remarkable story about Michael Flynn, the crackpot National Security Advisor appointed by Donald Trump in late 2016 and then fired in early 2017. According to the Journal, Flynn and his son met in 2016 with some associates of Erdoğan who proposed to pay the Flynns $15 million to secretly kidnap Gulen and fly him to Turkey. This was in September, while Flynn was a top campaign surrogate for Trump. A second meeting was held in December, after Flynn had already been appointed NSA.

Now it seems there is pushback from the deep state:

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing, according to people familiar with the matter.

The CIA’s assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation and complicates the Trump administration’s efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally. A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, where he had come to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence. Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.

The Trump administration really wants to work with the Saudis, after all Jared Kushner is best friends with the prince, even if it means sacrificing a US resident or two, we’ll see what other Republicans say.

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