Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Donald Trump Sticks to His Aggressively Wrong Guns

Something you may have picked up on over the past two years is that Donald Trump lacks the filter that prevents other homo sapiens from saying or tweeting all the asinine thoughts that come into their heads. Sure, his physician declared back in January that he had “absolutely no concerns” about Trump’s mental health because the president could identify a rhinoceros, but clearly university researchers could learn a lot from studying this quirk of biology—the one that puts 45 about halfway across the human-evolution chart, on par with the guy who’s just beginning to walk upright—on a molecular level. For the most part, the abnormality simply results in the president of the United States coming across as the imbecile he is, which largely means that the words exiting his mouth (or fingers) go ignored. In other instances, however, the unhinged babble threatens to become actual policy. Today, we were privy to a statement that potentially crosses into both realms, when the former slinger of Trump Steaks woke up and tweeted this:

Here, the president is accusing China and Russia of manipulating the yuan and the ruble in order to give their companies an advantage when it comes to exporting goods. The claim, delivered, as The Washington Post notes, “without any evidence or corroboration,” will likely come as a surprise to U.S. officials, given that it directly contradicts a Treasury report released on Friday. In it, the Treasury said nothing about either country artificially lowering the value of their own currencies, and in fact noted that China’s currency has actually moved in a direction that would benefit U.S. exporters. As for the second and third parts of the tweet, in the words of Damian Paletta, it’s unclear “whether Trump meant Russia and China’s behavior was unacceptable, the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates was unacceptable, or the whole dynamic was unacceptable.” Presumably, this is a topic that has come up in the Oval Office before, with officials attempting to hold the president’s hand like a small child and walk him through the facts. But as was the case with his war on Amazon, Trump seems to have decided that he would prefer to stick with his aggressively wrong take on the situation.

And while it’s not clear whether Trump will task his advisers with crafting policy based on his totally delusional position, it’s not like he…doesn’t have a track record of dictating policy based on a totally delusional position. Last week, he decided to announce an extra $100 billion in China-targeted tariffs without consulting his chief economic adviser, or holding “one single deliberative meeting.” Over the weekend, he bombed Syria at least in part to prove that his tweets threatening to do so were true (and maybe also, to take the heat off the Goodfellas extra that is his lawyer.) What could he have planned next? No one, especially not government officials, can say.

If you would like to receive the Levin Report in your inbox daily, click here to subscribe.

Larry Fink is no longer a victim of systemic inequality

Larry Fink is an enormously successful businessman who founded asset-management juggernaut BlackRock in 1988 and who has done so well for himself that the biggest regret he can think of is, basically, “doubting my own sheer f–king awesomeness.” Yet for everything he’s achieved, there was one thing that still made him feel like a loser, relative to his peers: only being worth $999,999,999.999 million dollars. Thankfully, the burden of shame he’s been forced to carry for all these years has finally evaporated, per Bloomberg:

Fink . . . has at last eclipsed $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His holding in BlackRock is valued at $570 million with dividends, stock sales, and compensation—$27.7 million in 2017—making up the rest.

Fink has trailed in personal wealth because he owns only a tiny piece of BlackRock: 0.7 percent. Back in 1994, Blackstone sold its stake in Fink’s outfit as Stephen Schwarzman railed against dilution because of Fink’s desire to award new hires equity in the business to lure them from top banks. Since then, Fink’s continued to spread ownership among his employees and used BlackRock stock to make key acquisitions including the $15 billion purchase of Barclays Plc’s Barclays Global Investors unit in 2009.

Thanks to everyone who believed in him, even all you new hires who held him back with your equity demands.

The Trump Organization has found a lucrative new revenue stream

Donald Trump Jr. maintains that no one ever gives the Trump family credit for the sacrifices they’ve had to make, particularly when it comes to all the deals they’ve supposedly left on the table since Papa Bear became president. Luckily, it seems he and Eric, who are temporarily running the family biz, have found a way to ease the pain:

President Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies since 2015, according to a new report to be released Monday.

The money went to Trump’s airplanes, hotels, golf courses, even a bottled water company during the presidential campaign and the first 15 months of his presidency, according to a compilation of known records of the spending by Public Citizen obtained by McClatchy.

But it was Trump’s campaign itself that spent the biggest chunk by far—about 90 percent, or $13.4 million.

Along with more than $500,000 each from the Republican National Committee and Trump Victory, the joint committee set up by the R.N.C. and the Trump campaign, Trump’s business have received $9,000 from the National Republican Senate Committee; $33,000 from America First Action; and $24,000 from Great America Committee, Vice President Mike Pence’s group.

In other Trump Organization news, last week we learned that the Brothers Trump have been busy suing local governments, arguing that their properties are worth much less than they’ve been valued at, in order to lower their tax bills. (A spokesperson said at that time that the practice is “routine” and that anyone suggesting otherwise should be ashamed of themselves.)

Surprise: $43,000 soundproof phone booths aren’t considered reasonable and customary office equipment

In fact, as Scott Pruitt learned on Monday, they’re actually considered against the law if you just up an order them without getting permission from Congress first:

The finding, by the Government Accountability Office, comes as Mr. Pruitt has come under fire for his spending on items such as first-class air travel at taxpayer expense. The White House is reviewing Mr. Pruitt’s activities, and the Office of Government Ethics has urged the E.P.A. to investigate possible ethics violations, including allegations that Mr. Pruitt rented a Washington apartment from the family of an energy lobbyist at below-market rates.

The White House chief of staff has pressed for Mr. Pruitt’s removal, but President Donald Trump has continued to support the E.P.A. chief, saying he is doing a “great job.”

In a statement, E.P.A. spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the agency is addressing the G.A.O.’s concerns “and will be sending Congress the necessary information this week.”

Massive corporate tax cut working out pretty well for Bank of America

Thanks, Donny:

Bank of America Corp. said Monday that a boost from the U.S. tax law and continued rising interest rates helped push first-quarter profit 30 percent higher, extending the string of better-than-expected results from the nation’s biggest banks. Quarterly profit at the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank rose to $6.92 billion from $5.34 billion a year ago. Per-share earnings were 62 cents; analysts had expected 59 cents per share. Revenue came in at $23.13 billion, up from $22.25 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected $23.06 billion.

Elsewhere!

There’s a “tsunami” of companies applying for relief from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs (Washington Post)

Stock Pickers Ready to Take the Facebook Out of “FANG” (W.S.J.)

These $250,000 Golf Carts Are Pricier Than a Tesla or Porsche (Bloomberg)

Trump Is Planning to Name Pimco’s Richard Clarida as Fed Vice Chair (Bloomberg)

Domino’s will deliver pizza to the beach (CNN Money)

Wall Street Titan Takes Aim at Law That Tripped Him Up (N.Y.T.)

Salt Bae Restaurant’s Owner to Start Talks on $2.5 Billion Debt (Bloomberg)

Guggenheim probed by S.E.C. over mansion purchases (Financial Times)

Surgeons remove lighter from man’s stomach after 20 years (UPI)



Source link

About the Author

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

/