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Paul Krugman: Trump is ‘disintegrating before our eyes’ as stocks plunge and the presidents barks orders to US companies

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- Commentary

Descending to new lows of absurdity, arrogance, and delusion, President Donald Trump demanded that American companies “immediately start looking for an alternative to China” as his trade war with the foreign power drags on. Trump’s earlier comments in the week already had observers questioning his mental wellness, but this new outburst provided fresh evidence of his lack of connection to reality and instability:

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Earlier, Trump had lashed out at the Federal Reserve chair:

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These manic declarations came amid increasingly worrying economic signals and as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points Friday morning.

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But despite these outbursts, economist Paul Krugman, a frequent critic of the Republican Party and the president in particular, suggested on Twitter that “it’s not clear whether Trump is getting any crazier. It’s just that events have stopped accommodating his madness.”

He continued: “The story of both the markets and the economy since 2016 has been that investors decided, in effect, either that Trump isn’t really as demented as he sounds or that it doesn’t matter, because grownups will restrain him.”

This has seemed to be something of a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” Krugman said, because the relatively strong economy gave Trump little reason to overreact.

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“But now, at the first hint of a setback — I mean, no recession yet, no major market plunge, just a modest slowdown (so far) — he’s disintegrating before our eyes. And the closest thing we have to a grownup on the scene is the Lego Batman guy [Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin],” he went on. “Again, not clear whether Trump is any crazier than he was; maybe he’s deteriorating, but is calling Powell an enemy notably worse than the stuff about crowd sizes at his inaugural and refusing to admit he lost the popular vote?”


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Trump’s impeachment is a pivotal moment in our history but the press still covers it like a horse race

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I wrote yesterday that political journalists’ pervasive cynicism led to some odd analyses concluding that Wednesday’s first day of public impeachment hearings had been a dull affair, and how this narrative ultimately benefited Donald Trump. The following post adds to that piece. 

Only those blinded by cynicism or partisanship could view the impeachment of Donald Trump as anything but a profoundly dramatic and potentially pivotal moment in our country’s history.

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Here’s why Republican impeachment theatrics — as buffoonish as they are — serve a purpose for the GOP

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Liberal and progressive pundits — and some Never Trump conservatives as well — have been highly critical of the silly, buffoonish theatrics that Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and other far-right House Republicans brought to the first public testimony in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. But then, Jordan and Nunes weren’t trying to win over liberals, progressives or anti-Trump conservatives on Wednesday, November 13, when they aggressively attacked the testimony of two diplomats: Ambassador William B. Taylor (top U.S. ambassador to Ukraine) and the U.S. State Department’s George P. Kent (deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs). They were playing to Trump’s hardcore MAGA base, pushing emotional buttons rather than relying on substance.

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Fox News creates an alternative reality and portrays impeachment hearings as a Trump victory over hapless nerds

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There was a lot of talk on Thursday about the theater criticism of the impeachment hearings coming from some quarters of the mainstream media. Press Watch's Dan Froomkin wrote a must-read piece here at Salon taking them to task for trivializing the event and creating the impression among many people who didn't watch the live testimony that it was boring and worthless. This is another example of the media's insatiable need for drama, explaining once again how Donald Trump, a carnival sideshow act if ever there was one, wound up in the White House.

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