Author Archives: richardbrenneman

Trump calls an end to the Trans-Pacific Partnership


While we’ve long advocated that the TPP deserves a quick death because of provisions ensuring the free reign of capital and the imposition of the neoliberal looting regime, we suspect that Trump’s replacement will be even worse.

From teleSUR English:

The announcement was initially made in a statement on the White House’s website that promises to bring jobs and economic prosperity by “rejecting and reworking failed trade deals.” Earlier this month, his team also announced they would instead be focusing on more bilateral trade deals.

“This strategy starts by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and making certain that any new trade deals are in the interests of American workers,” the statement reads, then delivers an ultimatum regarding its commitment to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, the neo-liberal wedge used to open up the Mexican market to trade by promising, and failing to deliver, economic prosperity.

“If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA,” says the statement.

The statement, titled Trade Deals Working For All Americans, emphasizes Trump’s “lifetime of negotiating experience” as a selling point for withdrawing from the 12-nation agreement, which former President Barack Obama adamantly pushed.

Except for the U.S., all other countries have signed the controversial TPP, which promises to open up markets by removing trade barriers, though it has yet to be ratified by any single one. The TPP’s member countries include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The deal purports to bring economic prosperity to all by equally opening borders and market opportunities. But critics argue that less developed countries, such as the three commodity-dependent Latin American members, are at an obvious disadvantage when competing against developed countries that export more costly value-added goods.

Environmentalists have also blasted the agreement for allowing member-governments to be sued by corporations claiming profit-loss due to environmental and labor regulations. Thousands of protesters have come out against the deal in Peru and Chile.

Graphic Representation: Trumplandia™ factioids


We open with some wishful thinking from the Tulsa World:

Bruce Plante: Obama’s note to Trump

blog-t-plante

Next up, the Sacramento Bee fits the context:

Jack Ohman: Donald Trump, the CIA, and don’t let the stars get in your eyes. . .

blog-t-ohman

And from El Machete Illustrated, another take on spooky doings:

Eric J. Garcia: Drone Foundation

blog-t-garcia

This Washington Post image sorta of grabs you:

Ann Telnaes: Trump’s ethics dance

blog-t-telnaes

From the Charlotte Observer, the spin is in:

Kevin Siers: White House’s alternate facts

blog-t-siers

The Washington Post cover the same surreal estate:

Tom Toles: In the world of Donald Trump, anything can happen, virtually

blog-t-toles

And as proof, this cartoonish image from the London Daily Mail [a screencap of the homepage teaser for this story]:

blog-t-headline

Another take on the numbers from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Steve Sack: Women’s Marches

blog-t-sack

Finally, from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a plausible explanation:

Clay Bennett: Opioids

blog-t-bennett

TrumpAmerica™ Today: The looting commences


Trump is owing to make good on two of his campaign promises, and with Republicans in the majority in both houses of Congress, he’s likely to get his way.

First, and of great interest to all those billionaires on his inaugural platform. Comes a package of tax cuts in which corporations get a major slice.

Of equal interest to the corporateers is a vow to ruthlessly pare regulations, those pesky rules and laws, already shaped in whole or part by corporate lobbyists, that force constraint on the untrammeled pursuit of profit.

We begin with this from a decidedly Right political news site, the Daily Caller:

President Donald Trump doubled-down on his campaign promises to massively deregulate the economy during a meeting at the White House Monday morning.

Trump said he would “cut regulations by 75 percent,” in a move that would drastically change the regulatory landscape of the American economy.

Trump has repeatedly pledged to end “all unnecessary regulations” imposed on the energy industry, to “dismantle” the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act, and to put a moratorium on any new regulations when he takes office.

His promise Monday was the first step in coming through on his campaign agenda. The president also pledges to order federal agencies to “identify job-killing regulations that should be repealed.”

The president’s economic plan laid out on the White House website promises to create 25 million new American jobs in the next decade and a return to 4 percent annual economic growth, according to statement released Friday on the official White House website.

The president also promises to cut the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.

And from the White House website, Trump’s policies are laid out in a section that reeks with hubris emphases added]:

The President’s plan will lower rates for Americans in every tax bracket, simplify the tax code, and reduce the U.S. corporate tax rate, which is one of the highest in the world. Fixing a tax code that is outdated, overly complex, and too onerous will unleash America’s economy, creating millions of new jobs and boosting economic growth.

As a lifelong job-creator and businessman, the President also knows how important it is to get Washington out of the way of America’s small businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers. In 2015 alone, federal regulations cost the American economy more than $2 trillion. That is why the President has proposed a moratorium on new federal regulations and is ordering the heads of federal agencies and departments to identify job-killing regulations that should be repealed.

With decades of deal-making experience, the President also understands how critical it is to negotiate the best possible trade deals for the United States. By renegotiating existing trade deals, and taking a tough stance on future ones, we will ensure that trade agreements bring good-paying jobs to our shores and support American manufacturing, the backbone of our economy. The President plans to show America’s trading partners that we mean business by ensuring consequences for countries that engage in illegal or unfair trade practices that hurt American workers.

Trump issues orders, keeps them secret

Another monious devekopment.

From the McClatchy Washington Bureau [emphasis added]:

President Donald Trump has taken at least six executive actions since he was sworn in as president, but half of them remain secret.

The text of two of them – weakening the health care law and freezing regulations – were emailed to reporters. The third was revealed in a letter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to lenders and real estate brokers about the roll back of a policy that would have reduced the cost of mortgages for millions of home buyers. But the language of the remaining three hasn’t been released; their existence is known from a single tweet by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

The administration has a spot on its revamped whitehouse.gov website for “presidential actions“ including executive orders, memorandum and proclamations. But all the spaces are blank.

Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, which pushes for transparency in government, said the decision not to post the information online as former President Barack Obama cut out “millions of Americans.” Trump’s team, he said, needs to realize that he is not campaigning anymore, but governing.

The website was revamped Friday to include bios of the new president and vice president and their wives and scrubbed of references to gay and lesbian issues and global warming [see previous].

White House website becomes English-only


And disabled access provisions have been eliminated, too.

Call it linguistic and ability-based ethnic cleansing.

From the Washington Post:

President Trump, who chided his opponents during the campaign for speaking Spanish, has made a tangible change to the White House website to eliminate bilingual access.

The site , which the Trump administration took over on Friday, no longer includes an option for translation into Spanish or another that gives information about access for disabled users that had existed under President Obama.

Spokesman Sean Spicer suggested the translation option may return but made no specific commitment on timing when asked about it Monday. He spoke generally about the high volume of work facing the technology team during the changeover.

“We are continuing to build out the website…,” Spicer said. “We’ve got the IT folks working overtime on that now.”

During a Republican primary debate, Trump lashed out at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush when he spoke Spanish. “This is a country where we speak English,” Trump said.

Headline of the day II: And ‘pussygrabber’ too


From the London Daily Mail:

Donald Trump’s Twitter account is the top search result for ‘a**hole,’ ‘bigot,’ and ‘racist’

  • Trump’s Twitter account is one of the top results when ‘a**hole’ is searched
  • He is also the number one result in people search for ‘bigot’ and ‘racist’ 
  • Trump was given the presidential @POTUS account after his inauguration

Chart of the day: Religion in the White House


Trump become the ninth Presbyterian to hold office [yeah, right].

From the Pew Research Center:

blog-church

What’s notable is the dominance of the most-WASPy religions.

While Episcopalians currently account for a mere 1.2 percent of the American populace, adherents of the former Church of England have accounted for 11 of the nation’s 45 presidencies, or 24.4 percent.

Like likewise, the nine Presbyterians, who belong to a church claiming only 1.4 percent of Americans as members, has been the denomination of of 20 percent of the presidents.

State GOPs rush to ban, criminalize protest


Inspired by President Pussygrabbers and his wrathful and sometimes forceful loathing of protests against His Royal Puissance, state legislators are in a stampeded to crackdown on protests.

From Spencer Woodman, writing in the Intercept:

Over the weekend, millions of demonstrators took to streets across the country to mobilize against the new president and his agenda, assembling in a national turnout that organizers call the beginning of a reinvigorated protest movement. But in states home to dozens of Saturday’s demonstrations, Republican lawmakers are moving to criminalize and increase penalties on peaceful protesting.

Last week, I reported that such efforts were afoot in five states: In Minnesota, Washington state, Michigan, and Iowa, Republican lawmakers have proposed an array of anti-protesting laws that center on stiffening penalties for demonstrators who block traffic; in North Dakota, conservatives are even pushing a bill that would allow motorists to run over and kill protesters so long as the collision was accidental. Similarly, Republicans in Indiana last week prompted uproar over a proposed law that would instruct police to use “any means necessary” to clear protesters off a roadway.

Over the weekend, readers alerted me to two additional anti-protesting bills, both introduced by Republicans, that are pending in Virginia and Colorado. This brings the number of states that have in recent weeks floated such proposals to at least eight.