Good Monday morning.
Here is what's on the president's agenda today:
- The president receives his intelligence briefing
- President Trump participates in the arrival of the prime minister of the Italian Republic
- The president meets with the prime minister of the Italian Republic
- President Trump participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with the prime minister of the Italian Republic
- The president hosts a joint press conference with the prime minister of the Italian Republic
- President Trump participates in the swearing-in ceremony for the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Trump vs. the media
Over the weekend, the president decided to tweet about a meeting he had earlier this month with The New York Times.
On Sunday morning, nine days after sitting down with New York Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger at the White House, Trump decided to make the once-private meeting public. At 8:30 a.m., the president declared on Twitter that he had talked with Sulzberger, one of most powerful media executives in the country, about "the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media," sending the Times scrambling to offer its own version of events.
“Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times,” Trump tweeted. “Spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Sad!”
The Times responded to Trump:
"I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous," Sulzberger said in a statement released by the Times about the July 20 meeting. "I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence."
"I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists," Sulzberger continued. "I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press."
That's fascinating. Follow this logic with me: Trump's rhetoric against the media is contributing to rising threats against journalists, therefore, the media's rhetoric, fake news, and unhinged attacks on Trump are leading to rising threats against FILL IN THE BLANK. See how that goes both ways? The media started it and they are upset because, for the first time in forever and unlike his weak, sissy Republican predecessors and elected officials, Trump fights back. And they hate that.
Trump threatens to shut down the government
Here's some good news for your Monday morning: Trump wants his border wall, the one he promised he would build when he campaigned for the presidency. He is prepared to shut down the government to get it.
Trump tweeted Sunday morning, “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!”
Quickly, Republicans at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) panicked and tried to backtrack on Trump's threat. "I don’t think we’re going to shut down the government," Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio said. "You know, I think we’re going to make sure we keep the government open, but we’re going to get better policies on immigration."
Do you ever see the Democrats do that when one of their nutters goes native and encourages something like physical confrontations with Trump administration officials, a la Maxine Waters? They may spit out some platitudes after it's dragged out of them, but they certainly are not johnny-on-the-spot distancing themselves from their own immediately. Republicans always do it.
Congress has a deadline of Sept. 30 to pass a budget for next fiscal year or risk a shutdown of the federal government, such as happened as recently as January when Senate Democrats and Republicans failed to reach agreement on immigration policy.
Let's see what happens, especially now that all the congressmen are back in their districts talking to their constituents.
Historical picture of the day:
I'm not sure about that: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I’ve got ‘at least five more years’ on the bench
Excellent news 3-D printed guns will soon be just a click away
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!
Establishment journalists had a hissy today because President Trump called on Daily Caller reporter Saagar Enjeti first during a joint press conference with the Italian prime minister.
For example, we have "Fusion Ken" from NBC:
And here's ABC's Evan McMurry:
Commentary's Seth Mendel makes an excellent point here:
I don't think anybody at PJM has covered this yet but Russia has dumped more than 80% of its US bond holdings in a very short period of time.
Between March and May, Russia's holdings of US Treasury bonds plummeted by $81 billion, representing 84% of its total US debt holdings.
The sudden debt dump may have contributed to a short-term spike in Treasury rates that spooked the market. 10-year Treasury yields topped 3% in April for the first time since 2014.
It also sparked a guessing game about Moscow's motivations. Maybe Russia just wanted to diversify its portfolio, as the central bank stated. Or perhaps Russia was seeking revenge for Washington's crippling sanctions on aluminum maker Rusal.
Did Russia really try to to exact revenge for sanctions by driving US treasuries higher?
Now, if Russia really did offload the majority of its Treasuries, that surely contributed to the march higher in U.S. borrowing costs. Ian Lyngen at BMO Capital Markets quipped that “The market now has the answer to what would happen to Treasuries if a major holder decided to sell everything.” That would be a measly 11 basis points — the difference between 10-year yields at the end of March and the end of May.
Of course, as Lyngen goes on to say, China and Japan, with more than $2 trillion of holdings between them, could do far more damage to the $15 trillion Treasury market if they ever decided to sell en masse. And with the Trump administration launching tariffs on Chinese goods, it’s tempting to ponder how much yields would rise in that scenario. But as I’ve detailed, offloading Treasuries is largely a last-resort option for China, given that it has to manage a massive amount of foreign-exchange reserves. Japan has already been scaling back.
If you wanted to know if the Swedish media had its own version of the popular "Republicans Pounce" meme, here's your answer.
Steve noted that Mercator study that pegged Medicare for all spending at $32.6 trillion over 10 years.
So naturally, the left cheered the fact that the Bernie Sanders proposal would save $2 trillion over the same period.
"Even Libertarians Admit Medicare for All Would Save Trillions"
This is just plain lying:
At first glance, it is strange that the Mercatus Center, which is libertarian in its orientation and heavily funded by the libertarian Koch family, would publish a report this positive about Medicare for All. The claim that “even the Koch organizations say it will save money while covering everyone” provides a useful bit of rhetoric for proponents of the policy.
But the real game here for Mercatus is to bury the money-saving finding in the report’s tables while headlining the incomprehensibly large $32.6 trillion number in order to trick dim reporters into splashing that number everywhere and freaking out. This is a strategy that already appears to be working, as the Associated Press headline reads: “Study: ‘Medicare for all’ projected to cost $32.6 trillion.”
Not hardly. The "savings" would be in lower drug prices and administrative costs. But, as the AP reports, "It would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, but increased demand for care would drive up spending, the analysis found."
So we should adopt Medicare for all to save $2 trillion in health care costs while spending $32 trillion more? Sheesh.