Russia Investigation: Let the Tantrums Begin!

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes arrives for a weekly meeting of the Republican Conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP leadership on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes arrives for a weekly meeting of the Republican Conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP leadership on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee chair and former Trump transition team official Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) made the extraordinary claim that Democrats are actually the ones obstructing his committee’s investigation into connections between President Trump and Russian officials.

Nunes — who abruptly cancelled all scheduled committee hearings last week, including one that was to feature testimony from Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who alerted the White House to Michael Flynn’s deceptions about his communications with Russian officials and was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump’s Muslim ban — told NBC News that “it appears the Democrats aren’t really serious about this investigation.”

“They need to give us their witness list because we have no idea who they even want to interview,” Nunes said. “So, at the end of the day here we’re going to get to the truth, we’re going to find out who’s actually doing a real investigation… we’re going to do an investigation with or without them, and if they want to participate that’s fine, but the facts of the matter are pretty clear.”

But a source with knowledge of the situation tells ThinkProgress that Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee actually submitted a tentative witness list to Republicans on Tuesday and haven’t yet heard back. That information was corroborated by Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand, who reported that a “[c]ommittee aide tells me Dems provided witness list to Nunes yesterday and offered to schedule hearings next week, have not heard back.”

[…]

Nunes might say “the facts of the matter are pretty clear,” but they’re not. Here’s what we do know. Last Wednesday, Nunes held a press conference where he appeared to clumsily validate Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower phones by saying he has “recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

Instead of sharing that information with the intelligence community or his committee members, Nunes raced to the White House to brief Trump, whose campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with foreign agents. In the week since, Nunes has steadfastly refused to share what he claims to know about legal incidental collection at Trump Tower with his House Intelligence Committee colleagues.

The list of willful obstruction on the part of Nunes and Gowdy continues over at Think Progress, and it’s quite the long recount of obstruction. It would be downright laughable, the weak attempt to place blame on democrats, except for the fact that this is extremely serious. If this was anyone else, everyone would be going apeshit, screaming for impeachment and imprisonment. The silence of those on the right is more than telling, it’s an indictment all its own, of just how much they truly don’t care about such treasonous actions, as long as the crimes are being committed by someone on their side of the fence.

Think Progress has the full story.

Tin Cap Time.

1477417057308

The Heartland Institute recently had their “Fuck the Planet!” conference, attended by the Mercers, and all those others who have some sort of vested interest in killing off everyone and everything. I guess they’ll bug out to Mars with Musk when life becomes unsustainable.

The atmosphere was buoyant at a conference held by the conservative Heartland Institute last week at a downtown Washington hotel, where speakers denounced climate science as rigged and jubilantly touted deep cuts President Trump is seeking to make to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Front and center during the two-day gathering were New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, Republican mega-donors who with their former political adviser Stephen K. Bannon helped finance an alternative media ecosystem that amplified Trump’s populist themes during last year’s campaign.

The Mercers’ attendance at the two-day Heartland conference offered a telling sign of the low-profile family’s priorities: With Trump in office, the influential financiers appear intent on putting muscle behind the fight to roll back environmental regulations, a central focus of the new administration.

The Washington Post has a full run down on the conference.

I’ll just focus here on the batshit element of such conferences, this time, embodied by ever loony Lord Christopher Monckton:

Raw Story has a rundown of his 5 main points, so click on over if you prefer to read.

The Farce That Is “The Wall”.

Ryan Zinke (Twitter).

Ryan Zinke (Twitter).

Just when you think rethuglicans really could not possibly go lower or more regressive, *bam*. Ryan the fink Zinke has a problem with the stupid wall – placing it on U.S. land would cede the Rio Grande, oh no wtfbbq!!!11!1 The solution? Doesn’t seem to be one right now, outside of making sure endangered animals are endangered right into extinction. It seems the only way to keep the Rio Grande would be to either steal land from Mexico, or build it on Mexico’s land and claim it for uStates. Or something. Jesus Fuck. There’s that Colonial mindset at work.

E&E News reports that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talked about the logistics of building a border wall while speaking at an event held by the Public Lands Council this week, and he said the Trump administration didn’t want to build the wall on American soil because it would mean ceding the entire Rio Grande river to Mexico.

“The border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall,” Zinke said. “The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall? We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

Zinke didn’t elaborate on how the wall would get built if it wasn’t located on America’s side of the Rio Grande or in the middle of the river, which implies that it would be built on the Mexican side of the border.

Elsewhere in his talk, E&E News reports Zinke said the Trump administration will seek a waiver to the Endangered Species Act so it can build the wall in jaguar habitats that are for now protected from “destruction or adverse modification.”

Via Raw Story. And, Ryan fucking idiot Zinke has now said there’s no such thing as clean energy. Nope.

New Yorkers: Get Out, Melania!

Image: Melania Trump in June, 2016 (a katz / Shutterstock.com).

Image: Melania Trump in June, 2016 (a katz / Shutterstock.com).

It seems New Yorkers have had enough of Ms. Trump and the kid refusing to move into the white house. They aren’t terribly interested in shouldering the staggering cost of her presence anymore, and who could blame them?

Nearly 50,000 people had signed a Change.org petition by Tuesday morning demanding First Lady Melania Trump move in with President Donald Trump in their new White House presidential pad in an effort to reduce the costly taxpayer expense of protecting the first family as they live in separate states.

New York City has been footing a daily bill from $127,000 to $146,000 so the first lady can continue living in her $100 million Trump Towers penthouse, according to New York Police Commissioner James O’Neil. The cost surges to more than $300,000 to secure the 58-story building each day the president visits his family.

New Yorkers and activists have begun speaking out against the added cost of living, ordering Melania Trump to move in with her husband or start paying for her family’s security in the Big Apple herself.

“The U.S. taxpayer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to protect the first lady in Trump Tower,” a statement accompanying the online petition Tuesday said. “As to help relieve the national debt, this expense yields no positive results for the nation and should be cut from being funded.”

Via Raw Story.

Red State Legislatures: Screw You, Workers!

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) in the state legislature. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) in the state legislature. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall.

On the first of the year, any residents of Johnson County, Iowa making the minimum wage got a boost: their pay rose to $10.10 an hour as a locally passed ordinance from 2015 went into effect. Linn County residents got a raise to at least $8.25 an hour.

More Iowans were soon going to join them. Come 2019, Wapello County planned to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, while Linn was set to go to $10.25 and Polk County to $10.75. Lee County was considering its own increase.

Now all of that is changing. On Monday, the Iowa state Senate passed a law that will not just freeze the its minimum wage at the federal floor of $7.25 an hour, but roll back the increases that were passed by Johnson, Linn, Polk, and Wapello Counties. No local governments will be able to pass their own minimum wage increases if it’s signed into law. The bill now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad’s (R) desk, who is expected to sign it.

If he does, those raises in Johnson and Linn will disappear. “The bill’s passage marks the first time anywhere in the U.S. that state lawmakers have actually taken away raises from workers who already received them,” according to a statement from Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

This is an outright evil thing to do. When people get a raise, everything changes proportionally to that raise. Budgets are allowed to expand a little, and families are able to provide more for their children, outside of the bare basics. To give people a raise, then rip it away from them, well, it’s hard to imagine being more Grinchesque.

It’s the latest advance in an all-out battle many states are waging against local efforts to increase their residents’ wages and benefits. As more cities pass minimum wage increases and paid sick leave requirements, amid Congressional inaction on both issues, preemption bills stymieing their efforts have proliferated. According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), every year has seen more states consider such legislation, with 36 states in 2016, up from 29 the year before and 23 the year before that.

Many of those bills have turned into law. Twenty-three states now preempt local efforts to increase the minimum wage, according to CMD, while 16 ban cities and counties from mandating paid sick leave.

This year is on track to continue the trend. Beyond Iowa, Georgia, Illinois, and Minnesota are considering minimum wage preemption bills. Six states — Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina — are looking at paid sick leave bans.

Even Minnesota. Minnesota, known as a liberal state in so many ways, but providing workers with a living wage and paid leave? Unthinkable!

Even these figures understate the full picture, as many states consider bills that would block multiple issues at the local level, such as minimum wage increases, mandated paid sick leave, LGBT protections, and even things like bans on plastic bags.

If just two more states join Iowa this year, that will mean a majority preempt cities and counties from increasing their own minimum wages. Georgia appears to have the votes; in Minnesota, it’s possible Gov. Mark Dayton (D) will hold the line.

Here’s hoping. If Minnesota falls, it’s going to be very bad news.

As in the reversal of pay raises in Iowa, some paid sick leave preemption bills could rescind benefits that have already gone into effect. In New Jersey, 12 cities have mandated paid sick leave. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Portland and Eugene in Oregon, Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, and Montgomery County in Maryland have all done the same.

The rise in preemption laws across the country tracks closely with the increasing capture of state legislatures by Republican majorities, starting with the 2010 midterms that handed full control of 11 legislatures to Republicans. Fourteen of the paid sick leave bans and most of the minimum wage bills came after that election. “It’s certainly the case that there’s an increase in these red legislatures,” said Lisa Graves, executive director of CMD.

How is rescinding paid leave benefits going to work? It’s not enough to try and strip healthcare from people, but if you had paid sick leave, do you have to pay that money back to company if it’s rescinded? That would mean people are working for no pay at all.

In Minnesota, for example, Republicans won a majority in both chambers of the legislature in November’s election, and now those lawmakers are pushing to roll back local efforts on wages and sick leave. Graves sees this as representatives of rural areas trying to impose their will on the cities, where the cost of living is much higher. “Those cities have adopted popular measures to address this,” she said. “And it’s really unfortunate that some of these rural electeds are trying to displace the popular will of the cities that they don’t even live in.”

[…]

These bills are also top priorities for some large business groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council. Many preemption laws are based off of ALEC’s model bills.

I have no doubt they are popular for businesses, but how can said businesses stay in business if they screw their workers to the point that they leave?

Full story at Think Progress.

Awww, Who’s A Little Snowflake?

Patricia Rasmussen.

Patricia Rasmussen.

Remember Sean Hannity being all upsetty over the very dangerous, angry snowflakes? Well, he’s having a very special snowflake tantrum, after being schooled by Ted Koppel. I guess he couldn’t think quickly enough on the actual show, so he waited until he was back on his home ground to do his accusative yelling.

Discussing the interview on his radio show “The Sean Hannity Show,” Hannity insisted he “liked watching Ted” when Koppel was the host of ABC’s “Nightline,” before launching into an attack on the respected reporter.

“I’m an opinionated journalist and a talk show host,” Hannity began. “But the difference, Ted respectfully, is I’m honest with my audience, you’re not. You pretend to be fair and balanced, I don’t. And if you really cared about truth in journalism how do you work for a network that’s so abusively biased with the history it has?”

No, no, wait a moment here. You’re definitely a talk show host, and opinionated, but you’re no journalist, sir. As for honesty, I’m fairly sure you wouldn’t recognize it if it bit you on the nose. I remember watching Ted Koppel, and he didn’t pretend to anything. He’s an actual journalist, and the truth weighed the most with him. Appears that it still does. I don’t have TV these days, but it seems Koppel occasionally works for CBS these days. What is this abusive bias that I have somehow missed? And this idiocy coming from someone who works at Fucking Fox, an abuse factory if ever there was one, not only of people, those people primarily being women, but abusive when it comes to truth and integrity, two things it has little acquaintance with, or those who are cradled in said abuse factory.

Hannity continued his defense, asking, “How can I be bad for America when I offer the American people news and information your network will never touch because you have an agenda?”

Oh, you don’t offer news and credible information. You offer braying opinions, bullshit, outright lies, and the odd conspiracy theory. Oh, and of course, you don’t have an agenda, no. So, bad for America? Yes, you betcha. Put that sad face on, Cupcake.

“If you’re going to suggest I’m lying to people and I’m putting ideology ahead of facts, I want your examples,” Hannity added.

Oh for fuck’s sake, the man doesn’t have years on end to devote to your dishonesty and blatant ideology, or your outright worship of the Tiny Tyrant.

Via Raw Story.

Russia, U.S., What’s the Difference?

Russian security forces detain a protester in Moscow on Sunday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko.

Russian security forces detain a protester in Moscow on Sunday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko.

I have written many times about the current rounds of draconian legislation here in uStates, in an attempt to quell dissent and protest. As if the legislation isn’t bad enough, of course, there’s the constant narrative of lies coming out of the U.S. Regime, about protesters being paid and other such bullshit. It looks like Russia is going with the very same playbook, which is hardly surprising. What is surprising? The poisonous irony in the rather belated statement by the Tiny Tyrant’s regime about the treatment of Russian protesters:

Late Sunday evening, American time, President Donald Trump’s administration addressed the crackdown in a written statement bathed in irony. “The United States strongly condemns the detention of peaceful protesters throughout Russia on Sunday,” the statement from acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner — which was not issued until 12 hours after the first reports of mass arrests in Moscow — read.

“The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution,” Toner added.

Gee, isn’t that nice? Odd how none of that applies to American citizens, or American government, for that matter. The sheer weight of hypocritical irony in that should have been enough to flatten the white house and drive it a mile deep into the earth.

Toner’s words also contrast with Trump’s own pattern of rhetoric and behavior toward dissenters in his own country.

The weekend protests across Russia are not a particularly close analog to the anti-Trump demonstrations that American activists have staged since his election victory. Alexei Navalny, the prime mover behind the anti-Putin protests, is himself a nationalist hardliner whose political platform includes ethnocentric promises akin to Trump’s own stances on immigration, economics, and law enforcement.

But it is nonetheless odd to see criticism of Putin’s crackdown from the government of a man who has called for a criminal investigation into the Movement for Black Lives and encouraged his supporters to beat up protesters.

At rallies throughout his 2016 campaign, Trump relished opportunities to bash protesters — typically pausing his stump speech to peer into the crowd and ask his supporters to remove hecklers by force.

[…]

Today, Trump’s administration is also pursuing serious felony charges against hundreds of people who were rounded up in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day after a smaller group of black-clad Antifa protesters smashed a few shop windows and, in a handful of cases, scrapped with police.

Many of those facing felony charges were simply nearby when police “kettled” everyone who happened to be within a few blocks of the stores targeted by the radical fringe. Several journalists were arrested and charged with felonies that were eventually dropped by prosecutors.

Many of Trump’s allies share his disdain for dissidents. Milwaukee County Sheriff Dave Clark has said that protests “must be quelled” because “there is no legitimate reason to protest the will of the people.”

State-level Republican lawmakers in several states have introduced legislation curtailing the right to protest, usually by raising the criminal penalties marchers may face and broadening the scope of rioting statutes.

[…]

Trump’s team insists that such street-level dissent is not sincere but rather a synthetic display manufactured by wealthy liberal donors. The Kremlin is now saying the same about the Navalny-led protesters, many of whom were reportedly in their teens.

Sunday’s anti-Putin rallies were only as large as they were, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, because marchers were “promised financial rewards in the event of their detention by law enforcement agencies.”

Aww, isn’t that sweet, it’s the same story. Think Progress has the full story.

Women, Success Is…

Ivanka2-1

Kali Holloway at Alternet has an outstanding article up about Ivanka Trump, and how many very gullible liberals insist on thinking she is some sort of liberal moderating force on the Tiny Tyrant. That could not be further from the truth, she’s every bit as ruthless, power hungry, egotistical, and conservative as her father. Ms. Kushner Trump also appeals to a certain type of feminist, one who is not remotely interested in intersectionality, and not all that interested in feminism, when it comes right down to issues. Ms. Kushner Trump’s most recent book is called “Women Who Work”, and let’s take a look at the above photo. Of all the women who might read this post, does that come close to representing you, in any way? Let’s hear it for those working women, if they are white, and part of the 1%!

Just a bit from the article here, the whole thing is well worth reading (emphasis mine):

The irony of all this is the feminism that Ivanka has upheld is steadfastly retrograde and classist, perpetuating an image of womanly success as a kind that requires they both do and have it all. You can see it in her fashion line’s Women Who Work campaign, which also happens to be the name of her forthcoming book. She measures women—and here she pretty much only means white women; the rest of us barely enter the picture except as occasional tokens—by the same yardstick used by the patriarchy and, not coincidentally, her father. Success is being rich, thin, attractive, the boss (at the office and in bed) and never once letting the difficulty of juggling it all make you bitchy. According to the rules of her brand of consumerist feminism, the first rule of fighting sexism—aside from living up to its every impossible expectations—is to never complain about sexism. In the Trump Carshe suggests, for example, “separating the real [sexual] harassment from the benign behavior that seems to come with the territory.” Learn to take unwanted advances as compliments, ladies!

“Frankly, I think the biggest message that Ivanka is espousing is that, sure, women can get a seat at the table … if they’ve already got a hefty leg up and they pander to the men above them,” Teagan Walsh-Davis, co-artistic director of The Jades theater group, told the Chicago Tribune. “I can certainly appreciate the idea of using your privilege for good…But her goals seem to be a lot more shortsighted. When she talks about advocating for working women, she’s talking about women who are already successful. She’s seeing ‘working women’ as a monolith of her own class. In her mind, it’s mostly women who have already made it. In the family leave plan she’s tried to propose, most of the tax benefits go to families earning over $100k a year.”

Trump voters get a lot of richly deserved derision for gullibly swallowing Trump lies despite all contradictory indications. The same might be said of Ivanka among (white) liberals, who’ve endlessly given her chance after chance, in the hope that the feminist glimmers they’ve seen will fully shine. It’s not that 45 isn’t listening to his daughter, who is pleading with her father to do the right thing. The reality is, Ivanka and her dad are on the same selfish, kleptocratic page. Despite all her up-with-women talk, Ivanka doesn’t pay interns and reportedly required a full court press to offer maternity leave to employees. In her new role in the White House—which makes her a high-ranking member of her father’s administration, but with no actual title so as to skirt anti-nepotism laws—she’ll continue to offer no advocacy for the vulnerable and marginalized.

She never even pretended to care about issues facing black women or other women of color, and it’s a safe bet that streak will remain unbroken. Expect her “deafening silence” on the destruction of Planned Parenthood to continue; her pushback on the GOP’s anti-women’s health care to be nonexistent. She’ll keep putting out empty, faux-enlightened statements for as long as it serves the administration and her brand, which she still controls and has refused to put in a blind trust, conflicts of interest be damned. The goal is to keep a line open between the White House and the Trump Organization, and to keep downplaying the threat of this administration by outright lying about it in soothing tones. Ivanka is Rose, feigining innocence before betrayal in the horror movie “Get Out,” she is the 53 percent of white women—the ones she was hired to speak directly to—who voted for Trump even though they knew deal but like the benefits of white supremacist patriarchy. Like those women, Ivanka has signed on to do the bidding of that system in exchange for personal gain.

It’s more of the same that we’ve seen from Trump’s team, and a reason to stay weary. Ivanka is a key part of the strategy. Start recognizing her as such.

Highly recommended reading!

The Nepotism Network.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his senior advisor Jared Kushner arrive for a meeting with manufacturing CEOs at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Donald Trump and his senior advisor Jared Kushner arrive for a meeting with manufacturing CEOs at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

None of what follows has yet been confirmed officially. If this does end up being rubber stamped, it’s bad news. Again. This one falls firmly in the What Government? category.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday is set to announce his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will take on a White House role to oversee a broad effort to overhaul the federal government, The Washington Post reported, citing statements from both men.

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and currently serves as a senior adviser, will lead the newly formed White House Office of American Innovation with an eye on leveraging business ideas and potentially privatizing some government functions, the Post said.

“The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens,” Kushner told the Post in an interview.

Is there such a thing as a great American company? One that does not screw over workers, pays a decent wage, provides full benefits, gladly offers extended parental leave, has accommodation for working parents, and so on? Oh, and one that actually makes a useful product that would last more than 6 months, with no outsourcing? If so, that might make a semi-decent model, however, a government is not supposed to be a corporation, especially not a twisted, incestuous mess of one, like all of the Trump scams. The only thing you fucking assholes care about is lining your own pockets. Hard to see how that’s going to benefit anyone except yourselves.

Some of the areas he will focus on are veterans’ care, opioid addiction, technology and data infrastructure, workforce training and infrastructure, according to the report.

In a statement to the Post, Trump said: “I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government.”

Right. Ahead of schedule by cutting corners, leaning on the people doing the actual work, then refusing to pay anyone. Yeah, that’s one hell of a way to run a regime. Have we become North Korea Jr. yet?

Via Raw Story.

“We Have Angry Snowflakes!”

 Sean Hannity (CBS News/screen grab).

Sean Hannity (CBS News/screen grab).

Look at that face. Welcome to America, a country run by old white men who all have the temperament and visage of spoiled rotten 3 year olds. Ted Koppel confronted Hannity, and the usual tantrum ensued.

Koppel asked Hannity why he was pushing a “highly partisan agenda” on Fox News.

“Honestly, I think liberalism has to be defeated,” Hannity opined. “Socialism must be defeated in a political sense. We don’t want a revolution in this country.”

Right, can’t be getting any liberalism in the fascism, that would be bad! And of course, revolutions don’t figure into the history of this country at all, no. I do think we need a revolution, one in which it is pounded the fuck home that socialism is not bad. Socialism works great in other countries, which are stuffed full of happy, healthy, well educated people. That’s something to be desired and worked for, not defeated. The unreconstructed assholes have had way too much time to denounce anything which helps its citizens as some sort of horrible commie plot. There should not be pride in remaining backwards, in the face of all evidence showing you that you are wrong, wrong, wrong. The people in this country are dying young, drowning in poverty and violence. America’s answer: more guns, no social safety nets at all, let everyone descend into poverty, yeehaw! Jesus.

“What more do you want?” Koppel wondered. “You’ve got the White House, you’ve got the House, you’ve got the Senate.”

“And we have angry snowflakes,” Hannity replied. “And then we’ve got a Democratic establishment. I say the press in this country is out to destroy this president.”

Koppel traced the roots of the problem back to President Ronald Reagan’s abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine, which forced television and radio programs to present balanced points of view.

Hannity, however, argued that the American people deserved credit for being intelligent enough to seek out alternative viewpoints.

Oh, right. Like the fucking idiots who still persist in believing that “pizzagate” is a real thing? No, a lot of American people do not deserve credit for being intelligent, full stop. Too many of them are certainly not intelligent enough to even bother with news from credible sources, let alone actually think about any given issue. Too many American people don’t give one tiny shit that people like Hannity and others don’t ever bother to actually get their facts right before twisting them out of all credibility. Far too many Americans are devoted to obscurantism, even if they don’t know what that means. Anti-intellectualism could be considered to be a particularly American trait. Just ask someone who isn’t American, if you know anyone who fits that description.

“You’re cynical,” Hannity said, observing Koppel’s disdain. “You think we’re bad for America? You think I’m bad for America?”

“Yeah,” Koppel stated without hesitation.

“That’s sad,” Hannity complained.

Oh, look at that vocabulary! Oh, the clarity of expression! Not only do they look and act like terribly spoiled tots, they talk like them as well.

Full story here.

A Working Weekend. Right.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Luis Alvarez.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Luis Alvarez.

The Tiny Tyrant and his henchpersons announced a “working weekend”, with that supposed work taking place at the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Virginia, supposedly he’s there for “meetings”. Except that’s not what he’s doing. He’s fucking golfing. Again. At massive taxpayer expense. It’s clear to me just why the Tiny Tyrant refuses to pretend to work in the white house – he hates the idea of transparency. The whole idea that government should be open and transparent is a vile one to little Donnie, who is much more accustomed to doing his dirty dealing in the dark. Some democrats have noticed this large problem too, hence the Mar-A-Lago bill. Not that anyone is asking me, but I think a bill preventing all this excess travel and expense is called for. If anyone needs to be travel banned, it’s that travesty of a joke passing himself off as some sort of president. Grounded, muthafucker! Not that I expect that manner of spine from democrats. Anyroad…

Trump said he was going to golf club for meetings and phone calls. Photographed in full golf gear, including glove. #lol

Think Progress has the full story on all the latest excesses, which are considerable. Apparently, the Tiny Tyrant still thinks “president” means “wow, I can spread my brand all over the fucking place and no one can stop me!”

Bannon’s Hit Shit List.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast.

According to multiple Trump administration officials speaking to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity to talk freely, the president is angry that his first big legislative push is crumbling before his eyes—and his chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon is advising him to take names and keep a hit list of Republicans who worked for Trumpcare’s defeat.

“[Bannon] has told the president to keep a shit list on this,” one official told The Daily Beast. “He wants a running tally of [the Republicans] who want to sink this…Not sure if I’d call it an ‘enemies list,’ per se, but I wouldn’t want to be on it.”

One aide described it as a proposed “hit list” for Republicans not sufficiently loyal. Courses of action stemming from any related tally is yet to be determined, but the idea and message is that “we’ll remember you.”

Two senior Trump administration officials with direct knowledge of the process told The Daily Beast that Bannon and Trump have taken a “you’re either with us or against us” approach at this point, and that Bannon wants the tally of “against” versus “with us” mounted in his so-called West Wing “war room.”

“Burn the boats,” Bannon (in his typical, pugnacious style) advised Trump, according to one official involved. Burning one’s boats is a reference to when military commanders in hostile territories order his or her troops to destroy their own ships, so that they have to win or die trying.

Sources also said that others including Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, endorsed the idea of the running list, and that Trump agreed with the idea.

The Daily Beast has the full story.

The Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Care Plan. UPDATED.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

As most everyone now knows, the bill was withdrawn before a vote. Yes, be happy. That said, go ahead and read all the following, and remember. Remember just what they wanted to do, and still want to do. We cannot afford to forget.

 
This post brought to you with a leaden heart sinking in a simultaneous sea of fury and despair. It’s going to be a roundup, because I just can’t. I can’t.

Trump budget boss: If you want insurance to cover maternity care, lobby your state legislature. Trumpcare: Giving you the freedom to purchase health insurance that covers nothing.

On Thursday, President Trump and the House Freedom Caucus tentatively worked out a deal: Trump would agree to remove mandatory coverage of “essential services” from his health care bill in order to win the far-right caucus’ support for it.

Essential services include maternity and newborn care, pediatric care, emergency services, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drug coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, every health insurance plan sold in the US must cover them.

White House says maternity care won’t be more expensive for women —if they’re on a family plan: A story of male priorities on women’s health care, in two acts.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that women wouldn’t have to worry about paying more for maternity care under Trumpcare, as long as they’re on a family plan.

The exchange came as a reporter pressed Spicer on reports that the GOP is considering repealing Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits mandate — a requirement that all insurance plans cover services such as hospitalizations, prescriptions, preventative care, and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

Spicer called the furor over these benefits a “philosophical discussion,” and argued that repealing them was a way to bring premiums down.

The White House may have skirted federal law to try and save its failing health care bill: Several official Twitter accounts lobbied Congress in support of the AHCA bill.

On Thursday morning, as the Trump administration frantically tried to save its deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act replacement bill, White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted out a message to Trump’s dwindling pool of supporters urging them to call their congressperson in support of the American Health Care Act.

Hours later, similarly worded tweets were sent from the official @POTUS account and Donald Trump’s personal account.

But as some people were quick to note, directly lobbying Congress in support of (or opposition to) a bill using federal dollars—including White House staff who earn federal salaries—is strictly forbidden under 18 U.S.C. § 1913.

The Trump White House seems confused about how pregnancy works: Let me teach you about the birds and the bees.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a bill that, if a faction of the most conservative House Republicans gets its way, will eliminate the requirement that insurance plans cover certain essential health benefits. These benefits include maternity care, a fact that the Trump White House views as an opportunity to pit men against women.

It’s a common joke among the Affordable Care Act’s opponents. Why should a man pay for women’s health care? Hilarious!

At least with respect to maternity care, however, there’s a very simple answer to this question. Because of the unusual nature of pregnancy, either everyone must pay for pregnancy coverage, or no one will have pregnancy coverage.

The reason why is a problem known as “adverse selection.”

In last ditch effort for votes, Trump says goal of Trumpcare is to end Planned Parenthood: Trump quite literally plays politics with women’s health.

A photo of the House Freedom Caucus and Mike Pence went viral on Thursday, and for good reason — it showed that in a discussion over the future of women’s health insurance plans, the only people in the room were white men.

In a bid to get the far-right Freedom Caucus on board, President Trump and GOP leadership (again, all men) offered to repeal Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits provision, which mandates that health insurers offer coverage for basic care like hospitalizations, prescriptions, and notably for women, pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

According to reports, however, the Freedom Caucus still doesn’t think the bill goes far enough. And on Friday, Trump took to Twitter to levy one more threat at its members, dangling women’s health coverage in front of them as bait:


The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!

There’s many ways in which Trumpcare would disproportionately affect women. It would price abortion care out of reach for many women, even some on employee-sponsored plans. It would roll back Medicaid and charge seniors more for health insurance, hurting two populations that are predominately female. With the new revisions, it will roll back maternity coverage.

And, as Trump alludes to, it would federally defund Planned Parenthood —which in practice, actually means preventing low-income and rural women and men who depend on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, STD testing, and birth control consultations. In 105 counties, Planned Parenthood is the only birth control clinic. Annually, 2.5 million women and men seek care at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Trump knows this.