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Daily Archives: October 22nd, 2018


 

By Daniel Lippman and Gabby Orr 2 hrs ago

 

Early voting points to huge turnout

At his rallies, President Donald Trump argues that the midterms are about one person — Donald Trump. “Get out in 2018,” Trump told a crowd in Missouri last month, “because you’re voting for me!”

Privately, the president says the exact opposite.
According to two people familiar with the conversations, Trump is distancing himself from a potential Republican thumping on Election Day. He’s telling confidants that he doesn’t see the midterms as a referendum on himself, describing his 2020 reelection bid as “the real election.” And he says that he holds House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responsible for protecting their congressional majorities.
According to one person with knowledge of these talks, Trump has said of Ryan and McConnell: “These are their elections … and if they screw it up, it’s not my fault.”

Other sources said Trump is sure to lash out at perhaps his favorite bogeyman of all — the media — for allegedly opposing him.
It’s not all pre-emptive finger-pointing: Trump expresses greater confidence than most pundits about his party’s chances of maintaining its House majority and expanding its control of the Senate. And he credits McConnell for motivating GOP voters by holding the line on Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation.
But in the event of an electoral blowout, Trump is poised to shift the blame a mile down Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Look for the White House to say something like, ‘Paul Ryan chose to be a lame duck speaker instead of leaving, which cost Congress the chance to do several things before November,’” said an aide to one GOP member who speaks with the president often.
A Democratic wave would be especially awkward for a president whose brand is success, and who boasts that his record in office is unmatched by any of his modern predecessors.
Already, hints of a distancing strategy have started to creep into Trump’s public comments, even as he continues to crow at rallies that the midterms are a “referendum” on his first two years in office. Trump told the Associated Press recently that some of his supporters have said to him, “I will never ever go and vote in the midterms because you’re not running.”
Inside the White House, aides are resigned to the fact that Trump — as he has often done — will follow his gut on how to message any Democratic takeover of the House on Nov. 6. Those around Trump are anticipating lots of unfiltered, early-morning tweets casting blame on everyone but the president.
“It would be a lot of shooting from the hip in early morning Twitter,” said a well-placed Republican source, who added that the White House seems to lack clear plans for post-election messaging.
The themes are already predictable.
“The arc is gonna be he wasn’t on the ballot, and people didn’t fully appreciate his policies and [candidates] didn’t tie themselves enough to him,” said a person close to the president, who was among several sources to say Trump will likely blame the media as well.
While lashing out would be a Trumpian response, it would also be a break from recent presidential precedent. After losing the Congress to Democrats midway through his second term in 2006, a humbled George W. Bush conceded that he’d taken a “thumpin’,” pushed out an unpopular Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and vowed to find “common ground” with Democrats.
Four years later, after a Tea Party wave swamped congressional Democrats two years into his first term, with Republicans picking up 63 House seats for the biggest midterm gain by either party since 1938, Barack Obama took “direct responsibility” in remarks afterward. Calling the moment “humbling,” Obama vowed to “do a better job.”
Although White House officials are aware of those precedents, Trump may not care about them. And he alone will decide how to spin the midterm results, with his aides following his lead. The White House declined to comment on the record for this story.
“Despite whatever [way] they may want to spin it … he’s going to drive the train on this and the White House is gonna fall and say the president did everything he could, but unfortunately he’s not on the ballot and so people weren’t as excited,” said the person close to Trump.
Before he was president, Trump had a philosophy on whether leaders should accept blame: “Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen you’re responsible.”
But once in office, Trump, backed up by his communications team, has shifted blame for setbacks to others — especially Congress.
After efforts to repeal Obama’s health care law stalled in Congress last July, the president blamed “a few Republicans” for holding up the process, despite creating considerable confusion on Capitol Hill with his own mixed signals on healthcare reform. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders echoed Trump’s line, saying it would be “absolutely ridiculous for Congress to try to place the blame on the president for the inability to get their job done.”
And when Trump’s endorsement of Roy Moore failed to carry the Alabama Senate candidate to victory last December, the president claimed he was pressured into backing the wrong candidate. Those around him reinforced his claim.
“There does need to be a recognition of the lousy political advice @POTUS has been getting and it needs to change,” Tony Fabrizio, a top Republican pollster involved in Trump’s 2016 campaign, wrote on Twitter at the time.
“We’re in a completely different dynamic now where we know President Trump will be perfectly comfortable in a finger-pointing exercise,” said a former senior George W. Bush aide, who claimed his boss, by comparison, “was perfectly fine with owning and taking some of the heat off the Hill leadership” after the 2006 midterms two years before Bush left office.
A former senior Obama administration official, who recalled cringing when the ex-president used the term “shellacking” to describe the results of the 2010 midterms, said the White House “took stock” of the situation afterward and determined Obama could continue chipping away at his agenda through “either executive authority or working at the state and local level.”
“I only cringed because it was so true … We were shellacked,” this person said, adding that Obama nevertheless displayed “a willingness to accept responsibility and not wallow in defeat.”
Should Trump buck that trend by refusing to bear any blame, some Republicans said they would be disappointed — albeit not surprised.
“The president’s rhetoric is what’s actually energized the left, so it would be hard to put it on Congress if we lost the House,” a senior GOP aide told POLITICO. “But it’s just classic behavior on the part of this president to not shoulder the blame if things go bad, and to definitely take responsibility if things go right.”
Still, some of Trump’s most steadfast allies say he would be justified to turn his ire toward congressional Republicans if November becomes a bloodbath for the party in power. They claim he has done “everything possible,” like holding back-to-back-to-back campaign rallies last week, to assist GOP candidates battling for their seats or seeking to upset Democratic incumbents.
“I think [Trump] has done everything that has been asked of him from the Republican Party to … help campaign and raise money wherever they have needed it,” said ex-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. “President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence has answered that call every time.”

The liar continues, looking at his private statements, TOTUS is already throwing the Congress under the bus. One of his other lies is that the migrant group has criminals and unknown Middle Easterners among them with no proof and has not considered assisting the countries they are fleeing from  to correct their problems with more U.S. aid so that  those fleeing can remain in their respective countries. Totus’ focus is purely on himself not America or any other country .MA

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In case you didn’t notice the “Lyin’ President is stumping for several Lyin’ politicians. Where or when will the Lyin’ end. Save a few we have no honest politicians! Apparently it’s considered “OK” to lie to constituents rather than do an honest “days’ work. This seems to be normal now. There was a time when honesty was a virtue rather than anomaly it seems to be presently. Many of the mainstream (well known) politicians are just flat our liars! If you are a constituent who agrees with  or likes the representative then the lies are ok with you (apparently) so you cast your vote for them much like bread on the water, hoping for something better which never comes if the truth is told. When an elected official has to resort to lies to gain how can one trust their actions once in office. It is well to remember that dual personalities occur only in people who have a psychological disorder termed Schizophrenia or more commonly split-personality. It follows that if a person lies to get elected, that behavior will continue once they have taken the seat. Be cautious of the entertainment value of lies and insults as this is a clear indicator of poor performance for constituents and the whole country.

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My opinion: Mr. Lampert is seeking to resurrect a dying company that he set on this path. His own incompetency in understanding how retail works has more to do with the demise of these long time icons than lack of sales. It is commonplace for retailers to upgrade their stores as they age to improve the customer experience but that never happened with the Sears-Kmart stores. His lack of vision beyond his own pocket is the prime mover in the decimation of these stores. His merger of the two companies and subsequent gutting of the retirement benefits of thousands of employees added to this decline. Some employees at the store level lost as much as 50 thousand dollars in retirement funds in the merger as well as the cessation of pay increases. Mr. Lampert is the culprit here. MA
By Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli, Reuters 10 hours ago

(Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Eddie Lampert is in discussions with at least one potential partner to contribute to a $300 million bankruptcy loan the U.S. retailer is seeking, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, has held discussions with Cyrus Capital Partners LP, an investment firm that holds some of Sears’ existing debt, about sharing the burden of funding portions of the $300 million loan, which would be separate from another $300 million bankruptcy loan that Sears’ banks have offered to provide, the sources said.
The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. A Sears spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
Sears’ survival will depend on the willingness of creditors and suppliers to keep the company afloat. Strong sales in the end-of-year holiday season will be key in determining that, putting pressure on the department store operator to secure enough financing to remain operational until then.
Through his hedge fund, Lampert has invested billions of dollars in Sears since he created it in its current form in 2005 through a merger with peer Kmart. As a result, he is the department store operator’s largest shareholder and creditor.
The bankruptcy loan from the banks, including Bank of America Corp , Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc , falls first in line for repayment in the Sears bankruptcy case, while the $300 million loan that Sears is seeking from lenders including ESL would be repaid afterwards.
Some people representing Sears while it navigates bankruptcy have also privately suggested to Lampert that he should seek to replace the $300 million loan from the banks with his own financing, some of the sources said. This would mean that Lampert would potentially be contributing to bankruptcy loans totaling $600 million, the sources said.
Such a move would potentially consolidate Sears’ obligations during bankruptcy proceedings, and give Lampert more control over the company’s court case since he would essentially be the main so-called debtor-in-possession lender, the sources said. As it stands now, Sears is contemplating having two such loans.
However, it isn’t clear whether Lampert can or is willing to provide financing to repay the banks lending Sears money in bankruptcy, the sources said. Lampert could demur on the idea and remain focused on contributing to the $300 million loan Sears wants that would be subordinated in repayment to the banks, the sources said.
The sources cautioned that negotiations between Sears, Lampert and other potential sources of bankruptcy financing remained fluid and might not result in a deal. Sears filed for bankruptcy protection in White Plains, New York on Oct. 15 with a plan to close about 142 of its 700 stores by year-end and sell up to 400 of its best-performing stores in an auction in January to a buyer that will keep them operational.
Lampert stepped down as Sears CEO following the bankruptcy filing, and is planning to bid for the stores that go up for sale.
Sears, which has close to 70,000 employees, has not turned a profit since 2011. It struggled with competition from e-commerce firms such as Amazon.com Inc , as well as brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart Inc .
The company listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. A court hearing finalizing bankruptcy financing for Sears is expected during the week of Oct. 29.
(Reporting by Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Grant McCool)


Seth Frotman, formerly the top student loan watchdog at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saw the havoc that was coming for borrowers and tried to get the government to fulfill its promise under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The pitch was that student borrowers who worked for 10 years in public service and made 120 monthly payments would have the outstanding debt forgiven.

Recent data proved that Frotman was right to be concerned. Only 1 percent of applications for loan forgiveness are approved.

NPR readers told us stories of their struggles with the program, including issues with the loan servicers. “I have no idea how I am supposed to give my kids a future,” Erik Carlton of Tennessee wrote in an email. “Because I can’t save for theirs. I can barely pay for their present.”

Thank You Betsy DeVoss!

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