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Trump’s Itchy Trigger Finger

Earlier in the week, we were hearing from unnamed administration sources about small patrol boats of the Iranian Navy armed with missiles preparing to attack American warships. Are you kidding? Why in the world would Iran pull such a stunt and bring the U.S. into a war? This Trumped-up provocation has all the credibility of the phony Gulf of Tonkin incident, which Trump is probably too illiterate to know anything about. For that matter, it has all the credibility [...]

By |2019-05-17T17:41:12-04:00May 17th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Over to You, John Roberts

The future of American democracy may literally come down to the decisions of one man, Chief Justice John Roberts. That’s because all of Trump’s efforts to place himself above the law—stonewalling subpoenas, telling his people to defy contempt citations, making dictatorial claims about executive power—will eventually end up in court. The Supreme Court. And as we all know, the current court is divided 5-4, with five far-right toadies and four beleaguered liberals. Though one of the five, Roberts, occasionally [...]

By |2019-05-16T00:51:48-04:00May 16th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Citizen Mueller

The other day, I suggested that Special Counsel Robert Mueller commit an act of civil disobedience and testify before Congress despite the objections of the Trump Justice Department, of which he is an employee. I’ve checked with a number of legal scholars, and it’s even simpler than that. He need only resign and he is free to testify. As long as he doesn’t divulge confidential grand jury matters, he can expand on the sometimes Delphic hair-splitting in his report, and [...]

By |2019-05-13T22:50:15-04:00May 13th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump Got That Right

When The New York Times unearthed ten years of Trump’s tax returns showing losses in excess of $1 billion, Trump indignantly tweeted that this is simply how the real-estate game is played—pile up those paper losses while you make real money. Trump is right about that. The developer scam allows you to take deductions for depreciation while the property is actually appreciating, and find some other way to offset the capital gain when the building is sold. Not to [...]

By |2019-05-12T00:48:19-04:00May 12th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The True Constitutional Crisis Is Upon Us

Trump has now defined himself as simply above the law. Congress can issue all the subpoenas it wants, but if Trump stonewalls, it all ends up in courts. And the federal courts are increasingly as independent as, say, Poland’s, Hungary’s, Venezuela’s, or China’s. Robert Mueller must be kicking himself. He tried to play it straight and this is his reward. Suppose, instead of hinting at it, he had simply written: Were it not for the Justice Department guidelines (which [...]

By |2019-05-09T00:59:24-04:00May 9th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Don’t Mess with LGBT Texans

The Texas legislature is considering a bill that would allow any person in a licensed occupation, such as plumbers, opticians, pharmacists, and even non-emergency doctors, to refuse service to someone who happened to be LGBT because it offended their religious sensibility. You know, God created Eve from Adam’s rib, marriage is between a man and a woman, and who is the government to mess with God’s will? You wonder why the racists didn’t come up with this ploy back [...]

By |2019-05-06T19:18:30-04:00May 6th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump and China: The Art of the Cave-In

Several leaked reports from people “close to the negotiations” suggest that Trump will soon announce a trade deal with the Chinese government pretty much on China’s terms. This will serve Trump’s goal of changing the subject for one news cycle. But it will not serve the American economy. All the indications are that China will make an ad hoc agreement to buy a lot of stuff, but not alter China’s mercantilist system, nor its systematic theft of U.S. intellectual [...]

By |2019-05-04T21:41:11-04:00May 4th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

In Which the Superb Tom Edsall Gets One Big Thing Wrong About Unions

New York Times contributing columnist Tom Edsall is a national resource. In column after column, he provides encyclopedic research both scholarly and journalistic, extended interviews, astute insights, and hard questions for progressives on politically urgent topics. His most recent column, on the political consequences of the decline of unions, is no exception. As Edsall demonstrates, the Republican right’s strategic war on unions has been devastating to Democrats, since union members and union families, with their sense of solidarity and [...]

By |2019-05-01T22:00:43-04:00May 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

This Is What a Constitutional Crisis Looks Like

After the midterm elections of 2018, many of us comforted ourselves that democracy had held after all. Democrats took back the House, and there was no outright theft other than the structural theft of gerrymandering and voter suppression. But Democrats had won by a theft-proof margin. Elsewhere, adult minders at the White House, the Justice Department, and the Pentagon were containing Trump’s most lunatic impulses. The “deep state” so vilified by Steve Bannon was doing its job. Trump had [...]

By |2019-04-29T15:39:28-04:00April 29th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Infrastructile Dysfunction

Donald Trump is cornered. In his increasingly desperate efforts to bully and bluff the House investigations of leads provided by the Mueller report, Trump oscillates between bluster and changing the subject. His latest gambit is infrastructure. The American people, he insists, don’t want to hear about obstruction of justice. They want to hear about infrastructure. Indeed they do. Democrats are proposing a multi-trillion dollar Green New Deal. So where has the president been? Nowhere. He had two years with [...]

By |2019-04-25T13:52:04-04:00April 25th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments