Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (12/06/2019)

Will Democrats be Cut by the Same Sword They are Preparing for Trump?

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared President Donald Trump to a despotic tyrant in a press conference Thursday and announced she has asked House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to prepare articles of impeachment," Common Dreams reported. "'The facts are uncontested,' said Pelosi, a California Democrat. 'The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security.'"
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of Impeachment,  Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

"The proposed Trump administration changes to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) could strip 3.7 million low-income Americans of their food stamps and slash benefits for millions of others," Business Insider reported Tuesday, citing a November study by the Urban Institute. The institute said of the proposed changes: "Sixteen percent of households with no children, no adults age 60 or older, and no one with a disability would lose eligibility under the proposed changes to the ABAWD [able-bodied adults without disabilities] regulations. Nearly 12 percent of households with an adult age 60 or older would lose eligibility under the proposed changes to broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE). Households that include someone age 60 or older or someone with a disability are most likely to be affected by the proposed changes to the SUAs [standard utility allowances], although a larger absolute number of households with children would be affected than for either of these groups. Non-Hispanic white and Asian households would be somewhat more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to lose eligibility or benefits under the proposed changes to BBCE and SUAs. The estimated likelihood of eligibility loss from the proposed ABAWD changes differs little among racial and ethnic groups."

According to a Friday Washington Post report on November numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The jobs data offers the latest snapshot into an economy that appears to have lost some steam from 2018 but continues to grow. Heading into President Trump’s fourth year in office, the labor market remains one of the economy’s biggest engines, and Trump regularly touts the low unemployment rate as one of his top achievements.” Julia Pollak, an economist at ZipRecruiter, "said it was remarkable that so much uncertainty wasn’t depressing job growth. And while it’s difficult to predict whether the numbers would have come in higher without Trump’s trade war, she said the impact seems to have been 'relatively muted.' ... Manufacturing appears to have regained its footing a bit after several months of extreme pressure. Data showed that within manufacturing, jobs in motor vehicles and parts were up by 41,000 in November," the report noted.

Trump was in London this week extolling the virtues of NATO and taking French President Emmanuel Macron to task for saying in an interview with the Economist on November 7 that NATO is becoming brain dead; Trump said that was insulting and a “very, very nasty statement.” Then there was a hot-mic video that captured other world leaders making fun of Trump. In January, it was widely reported that Trump was threatening to pull the US out of NATO, and many on his staff were concerned that he would. Macron and Trump had some nice things to say about Russia at the NATO meetings. The French president's argument was that the real threat to Western Europe these days does not come from Moscow in the east, but from terrorists to the south. For example, Thierry de Montbrial, executive chairman of the French Institute of International Relations says, "We are in a totally different world. The shadow of the Soviet Union is no longer a risk of the same nature ... the principal risk is not an invasion into Baltic countries by Russia, it's terrorism, it's the danger we have on our southern flank for which NATO has no response." Macron also questioned whether Article 5, one of NATO's cornerstones – the mutual defense principle that an attack on one ally is an attack on all – was fit for its purpose.

"Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said in a note to editorial staff Sunday morning that the company will extend its policy of not investigating its owner, Michael Bloomberg, to all Democrats running for president in 2020," Axios reported on November 24. This development comes as Bloomberg surpasses Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) in the polls, and Harris said Tuesday that she will get out of the race. Let’s unpack this knapsack. "The company has struggled in recent weeks to determine how it would cover the race and Bloomberg as a candidate, given that its company policies prohibit the newsroom from covering Bloomberg's wealth or personal life, or stories about the company itself," Axios noted. This is problematic for me. Is Bloomberg News really an independent news organization that displays journalistic integrity or not?

"Mike Bloomberg claimed today that he only recently apologized for New York police’s 'stop and frisk' policy because he wasn’t asked about it before he started running for president," the Washington Post reported Friday. "The former New York mayor, in an interview with CBS News, was pressed by anchor Gayle King about the timing of his apology for the controversial policy that allowed city police officers to detain and search people believed to be involved in a crime, resulting in a disproportionate number of people of color being stopped. 'Well, the mark of an intelligent, competent person is when they make a mistake, they have the guts to stand up and say: I made a mistake, I’m sorry,' Bloomberg said. King said she wasn’t questioning whether he believed he’d made a mistake, 'but the timing that you realized you made the mistake.' 'Well, nobody asked me about it until I started running for president, so come on,' Bloomberg said." What is it with these folks? Talk about tone deaf. It’s as though they forget that news agencies have archives.

Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.

Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War."

Dr. Linwood Tauheed — Associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Listen to "Will Democrats be Cut by the Same Sword They are Preparing for Trump?" on Spreaker.

The Critical Hour is a daily 60-minute news analysis and talk radio program on Radio Sputnik hosted by Dr. Wilmer Leon. Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.

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