That’s the story from David Graham at The Atlantic, who details fully the events over just 10 days, some of which haven’t been picked up by our media.
The bottom line is that Trump is not up to the job, his minions are not up to saving him, often mislead him or don’t tell him the truth, he doesn’t take much notice of them, and the place leaks like a sieve. This will play out over a long period, but there are serious questions about whether his presidency can achieve anything.
Former FBI director Robert Mueller with impeccable credentials has been appointed to oversee the Russia probe. He will be thorough, but it will take time.
Greg Jennet says Trump has hurled himself headlong into a war with Washington’s national security establishment, a war he can’t win.
Peter Marsh’s article has some useful analysis. This will go on until the Republicans are sick of it. The mid-term elections may provide a trigger point.
Trump may sack his whole A team, or he may resign. Apparently he’s been bankrupt multiple times. His ego is big enough to blame everyone and just walk away.
The financial markets have started to give up on him. Their worry now is that he can’t be easily removed.
See also Matthew Yglesias – Trump isn’t a toddler — he’s a product of America’s culture of impunity for the rich.
2. How tall is James Comey?
I’ve been asking myself, how tall is James Comey?
The answer is very tall indeed:
He’s 203cm or 6’8″ in the old scale. Trump is 188cm, or 6’2″. Comey is the same height as cricketer Joel “Big Bird” Garner.
Forbes has published a list. Hint, Donald Trump is not numero uno.
Here they are in ascending order:
#20. – Benjamin Netanyahu, PM, Israel
#19. – Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan
#18. – Ali-Hosie-Khamenei, Grand Ayatollah, Iran
#17. – Carlos-Slim Helu, Chair, Grupo Carso
#16. – Salman bin Abdlaziz al Saud, King, Saudi Arabia
#15. – Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
#14. – Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon
#13. – Theresa May, PM, UK
#12. – Li Keqiang, Premier, China
#11. – Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank
#10. – Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
#9. – Narendra Modi, PM, India
#8. – Larry Page – President, Alphabet
#7. – Bill Gates, Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
#6. – Janet Yellen, Chair, Federal Reserve
#5. – Pope Francis
#4. – Xi Jinpiang, General Secretary, Communist Party of China
#3. – Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany
#2. – Donald Trump, President, US
#1. – Vladimir Putin, President, Russia
There is a note on the Trump entry that it applies to December 2016.
Larry Page I didn’t know, but Alphabet is the mother company of Google, and Page invented its main search algorithm.
4. Making China great
From The Conversation, The Belt and Road Initiative: China’s vision for globalisation, Beijing-style:
- China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a multifaceted economic, diplomatic and geopolitical undertaking that has morphed through various iterations, from the “New Silk Road” to “One Belt One Road”.
The BRI imagines a US$1.3 trillion Chinese-led investment program creating a web of infrastructure, including roads, railways, telecommunications, energy pipelines, and ports. This would serve to enhance economic interconnectivity and facilitate development across Eurasia, East Africa and more than 60 partner countries.
There was an interesting discussion at Late Night Live with Richard Aedy talking to Rory Medcalf, Head of the National Security College at ANU and a fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor, The Australian and Kadira Pethiyagoda, Fellow at Brookings Institute, Doha.
Sheridan says it’s what the Chinese have been doing, it’s partly for internal consumption, and the Chinese are kack-handed with public relations.
Anyway it beats Inland Rail.
5. Jobless rate down, but Australians are working fewer hours
- Over the two months [March and April] taken together, the majority of the new jobs were full time – 62,400 versus 35,000 part time. Yet the number of hours worked per month fell by 1.1 million.
- Over the past six months an extra 166,800 Australians found jobs – 101,400 full-time and 65,400 part-time – yet the hours worked per month slipped by 3 million, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.
“This shouldn’t be happening in a strongly growing economy,” said Macquarie Group economist James McIntyre.
- Total hours worked fell 0.3 per cent last month.
Bill Mitchell has a post Real wages now falling in Australia – failing economy and failed policy. This graph shows how the capitalists are winning:
Profits are winning out over wages. Mitchell says:
- Some of the redistributed national income has gone into paying the massive and obscene executive salaries that we occasionally get wind of.
Some will be retained by firms and invested in financial markets fuelling the speculative bubbles around the world.
Not a lot is being reinvested in growth.
Warwick Smith has produced an impressive paper on Unemployment Policy in Australia. He says that in the 1970s and 1980s:
- Instead of viewing unemployment as a collective problem, neoliberalism painted unemployment as an individual responsibility. The public focus shifted from ensuring there were enough jobs for all to a dialogue around individual employability. Tellingly, it was in the mid-70s that the term ‘dole-bludger’ entered the Australian lexicon. Ever since then successive governments been increasingly punitive in their treatment of the unemployed.
The focus today is, in effect, on punishing and stigmatising the unemployed for being unemployed even when there are many more job seekers than there are jobs.
He says mutual obligation activities have become “pointless and degrading bureaucratic hoop-jumping exercises.”