FROM Ed Luce
World Condemns Trump’s Proposed Ban on Muslims Donald Trump’s latest grab for national headlines has outraged leaders around the world, but Trump himself is unapologetic. This morning with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America, Trump defended his stance. "(W)hat I'm doing is no different than what FDR – FDR's solution for Germans, Italians, Japanese, you know...many years ago."' House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected Trump's latest proposal, "What was proposed yesterday was not what this country stands for and more importantly, it's not what this country stands for." White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Trump's comments yesterday disqualify him from serving as President, adding, "For Republican candidates for president to stand by their pledge to support Mr. Trump, that in and of itself is disqualifying." Ed Luce, columnist for the Financial Times , has more.
A Cascade of Secret Intelligence Leaks Reporters for Newsweek, the Daily Beast and the New York Times have recently revealed that President Obama chooses the "kill lists" for unmanned drones and that the US conspired with Israel to disable Iran's nuclear program with the Stuxnet computer virus. Has the Obama White House leaked too much classified information to enhance his re-election campaign? Are leaks threatening national security? Does the public have a right to know?
Leaks, National Security and Presidential Politics The Obama White House is accused of leaking classified information to make the President look good and of punishing whistleblowers who make him look bad. Earlier this month, California Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed concern about threats to national security to CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Republican Senator John McCain wants a special prosecutor appointed to investigate White House leaks, but the President says that's not where the information is coming from. Others insist that the people have a right to know what the government's doing. Now the world knows the US is targeting specific people with drone strikes and that it attacked Iran's nuclear program with a computer virus. What new dangers have been created? Is it all about the President's re-election campaign? Is there anything new about leaking?
It's Labor Day, Where's Organized Labor? The first Labor Day was in 1894, but in 2010, union membership in the private sector is 7.2% and declining. Two years into the Great Recession, 15 million Americans are unemployed. Recovery is underway and companies are making money. But they're not hiring. If the labor movement were stronger, could it turn things around, or do the benefits unions won for their members discourage business from creating new jobs? Do public sector unions put taxpayers on the hook? Would everybody be better off if middle class America could afford American products?
More Federal Stimulus Spending or a Switch to Austerity? White House OMB Director Peter Orszag has announced his resignation and insiders say it's due to frustration with the lack of aggressive action against the growing fiscal deficit. President Obama is committed to pumping up the recovery with continued spending and to his campaign promise not to raise taxes on households earning less than $250,000 a year. Is it time for increased federal stimulus spending or a switch to austerity? We hear a debate.
Stimulus or Austerity?: That Is the Question The consensus is that federal stimulus spending helped to prevent recession from becoming depression and got recovery under way. President Obama is committed to pumping up the recovery with continued spending and to his campaign promise not to raise taxes on households earning less than $250,000 a year. Deficit hawks say it’s time to raise taxes and get spending under control. But would premature austerity measures stop the recovery in its tracks? From the G-20 conference to Capitol Hill, and even within the Obama White House, policy makers are sharply divided. White House budget director Peter Orszag has announced his resignation , and insiders say it’s due to frustration with the lack of aggressive action against the growing fiscal deficit. What are the lessons of history? Are states like New Jersey and countries like Ireland unwilling participants in what could be a dangerous experiment?
Banks Still Pose a Significant Headache for Obama President Obama reportedly told senior bankers in a private meeting that he is the only thing standing between them and the "pitchforks," but he himself is faced with alternatives that may increase public anger. He has postponed the day of reckoning by subjecting the 19 biggest banks to "stress tests, supposedly to determine whether they have the capital to stay in business if the recession gets worse.
Banks Still Pose a Significant Headache for Obama The Obama Administration does not want to nationalize banks that appear to be failing, and Congress is not likely to come up with more bailout money. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner brushed aside concerns , saying that there's enough bank bailout money left so he won't have to ask Congress for more. But what about those "stress tests" now being conducted on the nineteen biggest banks? If the economic crisis gets worse, will they have enough money to lend? If the stress tests are set up so that nobody fails, will they have credibility? If they reveal basic problems, will result be panic rather than reassurance?
UK's Gordon Brown Becomes First European Leader to Visit Obama Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown met today in the White House with President Obama. They began with routine business . Obama reaffirmed the special relationship between the two countries; Brown thanked the president for his hospitality, his leadership “and the inspiration he is giving the world at this very difficult time.” Tops on the agenda, of course was the crisis in the global economy. Ed Luce is Washington Bureau Chief for the Financial Times .
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.