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As most everyone now knows, the bill was withdrawn before a vote.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.

Do the Scandals Matter? Not to Trumpholes.

170322_scandals-1

Click for full size.

A poll done by Morning Consult and Politico shows that the constant quake of scandals simply don’t matter much to Trumpholes. If anything, it solidifies their faithfulness to the Tiny Tyrant. That’s a prime marker of how fascism operates, and it emphasises, starkly, just how much The Resistance and all manner of activism simply cannot stop, or slow down at all.

The full story is here.

So Much For An Investigation.

Nunes, speaks with reporters outside the White House on Wednesday following a meeting with President Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Nunes, speaks with reporters outside the White House on Wednesday following a meeting with President Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) claims to have evidence that President Donald Trump was surveilled after all.

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers both said they know of no information supporting the president’s allegation. They also confirmed that President Trump’s connections with Russia are under investigation. On Wednesday, however, Nunes called a press conference and said he “recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

He framed his claim as big news.

And there’s a problem. It’s not big news. It’s not a vindication. It is obstruction of justice, which Nunes doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about.

But incidental collection isn’t uncommon when American citizens are in touch with foreign agents. Leaks regarding Michael Flynn’s talks with the Russian ambassador were what led to Flynn’s ouster as Trump’s national security adviser, because they confirmed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding the substance of those talks.

Any intelligence report detailing communications between Trump transition officials and foreign agents would be classified. But instead of bringing whatever information he has to the attention of the intelligence community, Nunes addressed reporters and then headed straight to the White House to inform the target of an ongoing FBI investigation.

[…]

After talking to the president, Nunes again faced the media and contradicted himself about what his evidence means, saying in the same breath that it both supports and refutes Trump’s wiretap allegations. He was also evasive about where the alleged surveillance occurred, who it targeted, and what form it took.

Yes, that happens when you don’t have evidence, and you simply make shit up out of whole cloth.

On MSNBC, Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff for the CIA, said he’s “never heard of a chairman of an oversight committee going to brief the president of the United States about concerns he has about things he’s read in intelligence reports.”

“The job of the committee is to do oversight over the executive branch — not to bring them in to their investigation or tip them off to things they may have been looking at,” Bash added. “I’ve gotta believe other members of the committee are horrified at what they just witnessed.”

I certainly hope someone other than all us reading about this are horrified. This is not on the same level of Keystone farce the rest of the regime show has been, this is very serious, and it should be taken seriously, and be investigated properly.

In a statement, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Community, released a statement saying that whatever information Nunes has “should have been shared with members of the committee” before the president was informed.

“The Chairman also shared this information with the White House before providing it to the committee, another profound irregularity, given that the matter is currently under investigation,” Schiff said. “I have expressed my grave concerns with the Chairman that a credible investigation cannot be conducted this way.”

I fully agree. It remains to be seen if a proper, credible investigation can even take place inside the big ol’ circus tent which used to be a government.

As chair of the Intelligence Committee, Nunes is currently overseeing the House’s investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia.

Right. An oversight chair who is going to go running to the press with nonsense every 5 seconds, and while busy decrying leaks, running off to leak to the Tiny Tyrant at every opportunity.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Key to Republican Votes? More Cruelty.

Disney.

Disney.

It seems the key to all the Republican Cruellas is Cruelty. The Fuck You Care Plan was looking at crashing and burning, but the two prime Cruellas, Trump and Ryan, have found a way to pull in the reluctant rethugs, who felt the “replacement” was simply too kind.

In a sane world, the problem with the House’s Trumpcare bill would be that it kicks 14 million people off of their health insurance in year one and uses the savings to give rich people a big tax cut.

In our world, though, the problem for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was that scores of his own members didn’t think the bill was harsh enough. With only a couple dozen votes to spare in the House, and party leaders rushing toward a vote to minimize public scrutiny, the initial revolt was enough to force tweaks.

Those changes landed Monday night in the form of a “manager’s amendment” to the Trumpcare proposal. The amendment makes Medicaid cuts even deeper, frees up governors to raid the program to plug other budget holes, and ends Medicaid expansion under Obamacare much sooner than Ryan’s original bill.

This would be why there was the previous insistence of a vote first, without looking over the changes. No one is being allowed all that close of a look, however, so there are no estimates as to how many people this version will screw over. You can be certain it will be more.

The new version accelerates that process of shoving poor, disabled, and elderly people off a health care cliff. Medicaid expansion would freeze immediately rather than in two years. While the 11 million slightly-less-poor-than-the-poverty-line Americans who today receive health insurance thanks to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid would technically be grandfathered in, there’s a false bottom to their recently-gained financial and medical security.

Anyone whose coverage lapses, or who takes a seasonal job that bumps their income up too high to be covered, would not be able to re-enroll in Medicaid after that blip. At the same time, the topline reductions in federal Medicaid spending would create fiscal attrition, effectively forcing states to throw Medicaid expansion patients back into the uninsured gutter a bit more quickly than the first version of Trumpcare.

The amendment also adds a cash incentive for states to impose work requirements for non-pregnant, non-disabled, non-elderly Medicaid recipients. Work requirements in anti-poverty programs are a longstanding and bipartisan white whale, despite their failure to achieve anything other than higher poverty rates.

Medicaid will be no exception, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities health care policy expert Judy Solomon told ThinkProgress. “While most adults on Medicaid already do work, the work requirement would likely prevent other eligible people from enrolling, including, for example, a young adult attending college, a married mother taking care of an infant, or an adult caring for an aging parent,” Solomon said.

There really is no limit to just how much rethuglicans want to stomp all over poor people. I expect what they’d truly like to do is “cull the herd”, but as that might meet some hard edged resistance, this slow way of killing people will have to do.

A few key low-ranking Republicans have already hinted the changes will secure their votes. A dozen members of the hard-right Republican Study Committee summoned to the White House on Friday agreed to embrace Trumpcare if the deeper Medicaid cuts were added, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) told the Washington Post.

Is everyone feeling loved by their representatives?

The amendments to Trumpcare effectively trade American lives for Republican votes. Like its predecessor, the 2.0 version is a swindle masquerading as technical, wonky reform. It will take medical care away from low-income families, which will mean more people in those families die sooner than they would have if they could still afford insurance coverage.

The bodies will be piling up against The Great Gold Curtain.

Via Think Progress.

Oh yes, almost forgot – this is what the Tiny Tyrant is concerned about:

According to CNN, Trump began his meeting with Republicans by congratulating himself for the crowd size at a Monday night rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The president warned that the value of his earned media would be diminished if the health care bill fails.

“We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” he reportedly complained.

Trump-Russia Ties Confirmed.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

FBI Director James Comey opened Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing with a big reveal: The FBI is, in fact, investigating Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election, including links between the Trump campaign and Russian government and any coordination between the two.

Naturally, this led to the appearance of a rabid Mr. Tweet again. The multiple tweets can be seen at Think Progress and Raw Story. A certain sense of weariness sets in when I once again glance at the manic ravings of Mr. Tweet, but I can’t help but notice just how stuck the Tiny Tyrant is, like a skipping needle on a glaring scratch. Without fail, he always regresses back to the election, the one moment where he felt competent. He continues to bring up Ms. Clinton, like a superannuated revivalist preacher, terrified of letting go of one thing he knows will whip up a froth among his faithful. In the same manner, he drags back the old bone of the electoral college, desperately trying to remind people of his big “win”.

Then, of course, there’s the old “Fake! Fake I say!”, this time over a CNN poll, which points to plummeting approval ratings. Mr. Tweet scorns CNN, while patting the head of FOX, seeming to be blissfully unaware of a FOX poll which also showed a tremendously decreasing amount of confidence and approval in the Tiny Tyrant. Oops. The Tiny Tyrant demonstrates his own lack of relevance, by continually parroting the recent past, unable to move on, and unwilling to face the realities of being a despot who does something other than tweet and continually take 3 million dollar weekends.

This directly contradicts statements made both by President Trump himself as well as his administration. Monday morning — likely in anticipation of Comey’s hearing — Trump tweeted that any insinuation of collusion between him and Russia is “FAKE NEWS” and that Democrats simply invented the scandal. He nevertheless insisted that the leakers responsible for that information getting out should be investigated.

Oh yes, that too. What is becoming yet another old, old song, “Leaker!” Perhaps, given the rumours about the Tiny Tyrant’s obsession with having people leak on the beds of his enemies, he should attempt to find a different word. Unfortunately for him, people will talk, that’s one of those things people do.

In the wake of Comey’s confirmation of the investigation, it remains to be seen if the congressional Republicans defending Trump will continue to insist that the FBI should be investigating the leaks of the classified information that raise these concerns, but not the concerns themselves.

Think Progress has the full story. For a quick rundown:

 

People Will Die, What’s New?

A man delivers heating oil to a house in Maine in 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

A man delivers heating oil to a house in Maine in 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

That’s a familiar scene. Living rural, I’m on propane for heating and cooking. Propane is expensive, very expensive. Most people who live rural have large tanks, which when full, might be able to see them through a winter. Depending on how harsh the winter might be, sometimes a tank will last, sometimes it won’t. We have two tanks, totally 1,500 gallons. We rarely have the full amount. Naturally, it’s cheaper to fill your tanks in the dead of Summer, but that won’t keep you all the way through to winter, especially in places like Maine, or nDakota. We’re still in Winter here. There have been times when there’s been no power; there have been times when there’s been a heating failure, and it’s not easy to cope when you don’t have heat. When you don’t have heat, you’re prone to doing unsafe things, like opening the oven, and cranking it up, stringing electric heaters everywhere, lighting candles, firing up kerosene heaters and so on. And in such cases, people often die. People also die of hypothermia, because yes, it gets that damn cold. Out here in rural land, USA, we’re a tad short on mansions. Houses tend to be old, and not terribly energy efficient, and subject to drafts. A lot of older people simply close off most of their house and live in one or two rooms come winter, as do a lot of people without a ton of money. Most of us rural types don’t have handy get aways in Florida, either.

The Tiny Tyrant is so unhinged from reality, it never crosses that atrophied pea brain of his that most people in this country are not wealthy, they don’t have mansions, they don’t have the wherewithal to con people in order to stuff their pockets, and get very concerned when faced with the choice of either starving to death or freezing to death. The same people who, while faced with such dire choices, are having their pockets picked clean by the fucking Tiny Tyrant, so he can hide out in his Florida Fucking Mansion near to every weekend. Over $3 Million every effing trip. This weekend marks the 5th weekend, and the 7th weekend spent flaking off to huge sums of money. The Monstrous Narcissist Evil which is Trump is happily planning to kill off the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which uses very little money in comparsion to say, the military budget, but is crucial in keeping people alive in not only brutal winters, but brutal summers as well. As Global Warming gets worse, also hastened by the The Monstrous Narcissist Evil Trump, both of these extremes will worsen, and without aid, even more people will die. Not that the thought of people dying ruffles Trump’s tiny, smooth brain.

“You’ve got a population that’s got very little money, not able to work because of their age or their health, and this is the way we keep them in their apartments and keep them safe,” said Wolfe.

“If you withdraw that, some of them will die. But that doesn’t seem too important to them at the moment,” he said.

“He doesn’t know anybody like that. They don’t belong to Trump’s club.”

And that last line sums it up. In the Tiny Tyrant’s world, people without money aren’t even on the radar. As far as Trump is concerned, they barely exist, and they certainly don’t matter. Not that it would make much difference if he was more aware, it still wouldn’t register. There isn’t any empathy in The Monstrous Narcissist Evil which is Trump. There is plenty of hypocrisy, though! There’s a mine full of it. If only hypocrisy were food, then everyone would have enough. The Tiny Tyrant is intent on killing off any and all programs which so much as hint of helping people, and won’t shut up about “slashing” the budget (while massively increasing the military money), while the money being spent out of taxpapyer’s pockets by the fucking evil asshole is overwhelming:

President Trump doesn’t want to spend federal dollars on after-school programs, meals for poor people, or heating assistance that helps keep folks alive.

But he has no problem wasting more than $3 million a pop to spend weekends at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Trump has already made four trips there since becoming president on January 20, and on Friday he confirmed he’s headed there this weekend for the fifth time.

[…]

Despite vowing during his campaign that he “would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” and “would not be a president who took vacations” because “you don’t have time to take time off,” Trump has visited Trump-branded properties each of the past six weekends. That streak will hit seven when Trump lands at Mar-a-Lago later Friday.

In fact, Trump has spent time at Trump-branded property every weekend of his presidency other than the very first, when he created chaos throughout the country by signing a Muslim ban executive order that was later stayed by a federal court.

[…]

As Quartz reported on Friday, after this weekend, Trump will have already spent about $16.5 million on trips to Mar-a-Lago. For that amount, Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year and after school programs could feed 114,583 children for a year.

Remember though, that starving seniors and children don’t matter! Nope.

On Thursday, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney defended the draconian cuts included in the Trump administration’s proposed budget by arguing that the federal government can’t ask “a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for” programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But one wonders whether those struggling Americans would rather have public radio or dole out their share of the $3.3 million a self-proclaimed billionaire is spending each weekend to mingle with his ludicrously wealthy club members down in Florida.

Oh yes, of course, why a coal miner or a single mom are just your general dumbfucks who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in quality educational TV, or good quality radio broadcasts, oh no. Why, they are just stupid peons, they don’t think, or feel, or care about anything at all, no. Certainly, they’d have no interest in their children having access to good education and information, no sir. They are, however, supremely happy to have the food taken out of their mouths in order to support the Tiny Tyrant when he wanders off to play golf and collect those $200,000 dues from his “friends” at the club.

Via Think Progress: Ending home heating subsidies is a choice to let people die. Trump to spend 7th consecutive weekend at Trump-branded property, at enormous cost to taxpayers.

Mr. Tweet, Coward at Large.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as President Donald Trump accuses a German reporter of engaging in 'fake news.' (Screen cap).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as President Donald Trump accuses a German reporter of engaging in ‘fake news.’ (Screen cap).

Take a moment, and look at that screen cap, again. Most people have seen it, the look of “unfuckingbelievable” on Ms. Merkel’s face when Trump pulls his fake news clown act on a German reporter. I cherish that expression, because it’s a clear divider between adult / child. Unfortunately for us in uStates, we’re stuck with the terrible infant.

Naturally, having to limit his childish outbursts during the press conference, as soon as possible, unpresident Jekyll found a dark corner, and let the craven Mr. Tweet loose, to spew forth all the shit he knows he can’t get away with saying in person. He’s doing all this, by the way, from his hidey mansion in Florida, y’know, the place he swore up and down he wasn’t going to go. This makes his 5th weekend there, at a cost of over $3 million a trip, so all us taxpayers are on the hook for more than 16.5 million dollars for Jekyll & Tweet to play, all while his sputtering temper adds more instability to the world.

As is his custom on Saturday mornings when he is vacationing at his Mar-a-Lago resort, President Donald Trump jumped on Twitter to complain about something — this time taking shots at both the media and Germany.

Following a meeting and press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel — where Trump refused to shake hands with the German leader and she gave him a dismissive glance when he brought up surveillance of both of them — Trump felt the need to set the record straight in typical Trump fashion on Twitter.

“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Trump began in his first tweet before getting to his latest complaint.

“Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” he continued.

Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…

…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

:Drops head gently onto desk: No. Just No. It’s the weekend, I slept in, and I was feeling kind of good, and then … No. I’ll content myself with a “Hey, Donnie! Go Fuck Yourself!”

Via Raw Story.

Let’s Talk Budget.

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress.

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress.

A person could easily conclude that budget is a nebulous abstract to the likes of Trump, which wouldn’t be terribly problematic if he was lost deep in his conman empire, but understanding a budget and how one works is crucial knowledge in the working of a government. To say that no one has been impressed with the Tiny Tyrant’s notion of budget is one hell of an understatement. It seriously underscores just how very unqualified he is, and it’s a terrible highlight on his base incompetency.

In his initial budget document released on Thursday, President Donald Trump called for huge reductions in government spending. Beyond simply handing some agencies and programs less money to work with, he wants to completely eliminate 78 programs — including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Services Block Grant, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Legal Services Corporation, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Minority Business Development Agency, National Endowment for the Arts, United States Institute of Peace, and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

All told, the money saved from the functions that Trump wants to eliminate comes to just under $23.6 billion, according to a ThinkProgress analysis.

That may sound like a lot of money, but it’s not even half of the increase in funding he wants to give to the military: $54 billion. The United States already spends more on defense than the next seven largest military budgets around the world combined.

The sum is also dwarfed by the size of the tax cut that Trump has proposed enacting, which would cost the government $341 billion in the first year and $6.1 trillion over a decade. Under that plan, the poorest families would get just $110 in annual tax relief, while the richest 0.1 percent of Americans would get more than $1 million in one year.

The amount of money saved by eliminating these government programs wouldn’t even be enough to pay for the construction of Trump’s border wall, the price for which has been put at $25 billion. [Also see this about the idiotic fucking wall. – Caine.]

Even rethuglicans are flinching over the idea of dropping yet more money into military – even they know it’s bloated beyond excess. This is nothing more than an ego exercise on the part of Tiny Trump, who feels the need to have the bigliest toys, oh yes. Then there’s that tax cut. Wow, a whole $110 bucks a year. Well, most of us know just how far you can stretch a hundred bucks, right? Everyone will be fine on that big ol’ bonus for a year. (If you’re hard of sarcasm, insert a YUGE near-fatal eyeroll here.) Whereas, the filthy rich will get … more than one million a year! Wow, no disparity there, no sir. Y’know, I can’t even be sarcastic enough for this godsawful shit anymore. I need a sarcasm upgrade, more than weapons grade, so can I get in on that military money? It’s not enough to completely strip people of their healthcare, to kill off services for mentally ill people, to kill off pretty much every slim little safety net there was, to destroy any possibility of an education, let alone a good one, oh no, not enough. Let us toss those stupid little peons one hundred and ten dollars a year, while we shuffle the big bucks, and laugh all the way to our mansions.

I am reminded of the Marquis St. Evrémonde, played deliciously by Basil Rathbone, in the 1935 movie, A Tale of Two Cities:

Unfortunately, this is not a movie we are dealing with. This is a horror of reality, which is going to be just that for many millions of people, a horror. People who are already struggling will be locked into that struggle, with no hope of surcease.

Several of the programs Trump wants to cancel have very small price tags and very large impacts. Trump’s decision not to spare even these high-efficiency connections between the government and its people is impossible to justify in budget terms, given their low costs. Instead, these cuts seem to represent a philosophical choice to derail things the president doesn’t believe in doing — even if they help people.

There are murmurs of how unfeasible this budget is, but so far, no one has had the strength of character or the moral conviction to do the right thing. That’s what happens when you end up with republicans in charge. There might be a few weak protests, some workarounds, but in the end, no one will stand. This can be seen in the ramming through of the Health fuck you Care Plan, in spite of a minor muttering of objections. There’s a definite temptation to think that they all just want to rush the shit through, get it over with. In the end, that’s a rosier thought than the realization that most of them don’t have a problem with any of it. What will actually happen with the budget remains to be seen, but if there’s one thing I think we can all count on, it won’t be good news for all us common folk.

Think Progress has the full story.

“Palace Intrigue.” “Loyalists.”

MW-FA026_trump__20161111070915_ZH

MarketWatch photo illustration/Shutterstock.

Palace intrigue. Loyalists. What country is this again? From the sound of it, we took a wrong turn at Albuquerque or something. Politico has in-depth look at the paranoia-infused administration regime, where people admit to being paranoid, while paranoia is also dismissed. The whole thing is a dismantled mess, more resembling Bedlam of yore than any type of government. Splintered, running on mistrust, paranoia, and lies, all on a wobbly base of fake news fueled insanity.  And of course, the gold-plated unpresident, who can’t seem to find time for anything, um, presidential, but once again resorts to Mr. Tweet, going after Snoop Dogg, who does not seem to have bothered noticing the gold menace.

A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies — inside their own government.

In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them.

Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes.

Many are using encrypted apps that automatically delete messages once they’ve been read, or are leaving their personal cellphones at home in case their bosses initiate phone checks of the sort that press secretary Sean Spicer deployed last month to try to identify leakers on his team.

It’s an environment of fear that has hamstrung the routine functioning of the executive branch. Senior advisers are spending much of their time trying to protect turf, key positions have remained vacant due to a reluctance to hire people deemed insufficiently loyal, and Trump’s ambitious agenda has been eclipsed by headlines surrounding his unproven claim that former President Barack Obama tapped his phone lines at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.

One senior administration aide, who like most others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the degree of suspicion had created a toxicity that is unsustainable.

“People are scared,” he said, adding that the Trump White House had become “a pretty hostile environment to work in.”

[…]

One senior aide said staffers have become almost obsessed by daily news accounts of palace intrigue and spend hours in the office dissecting them in hopes of deciphering who is dishing — and who is trying to hurt whom.

Another Republican who is close to the White House said junior-level staffers are simply “mimicking what they’re seeing at the top … Everyone at the top is so suspicious that it trickles down the org chart, so everyone has become paranoid and suspicious.”

The distrust, some contend, isn’t unfounded.

“I wouldn’t call it paranoia under the circumstances,” said a Republican who communicates with many administration aides through encrypted apps. “It’s not paranoia if people really are out to get you, and everybody actually is out to get everyone else.”

Many staffers say they don’t like the idea that supervisors — or anyone else — could have access to their emails. Some have taken to using secure messengers like Confide and Signal in order to communicate on their personal phones. One program gaining popularity within the administration is Wickr, which allows users to set an expiration time on how long an unread message can remain in a recipient’s inbox before it self-destructs.

The encryption programs can’t be accessed from White House-issued phones, which prevent users from downloading most apps. There are no restrictions on employees using encrypted apps on their personal phones, the White House official said, as long as they’re not being used to conduct official business.

The most stress, however, may be outside the West Wing, in executive branch agencies, where staffers worry about career bureaucrats who are hostile to Trump.

The whole article is excellent, and quite disturbing. Recommended reading.

In keeping with all the palace paranoia, there’s been a showdown between Mattis and the palace:

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reportedly told the White House he would resign unless a Trump campaign loyalist was removed from her job.

DefenseNews reported on Wednesday that supporters of Mattis were expecting the White House to reassign Mira Ricardel from her job at the Office of Presidential Personnel.

According to the report, Ricardel is a former member of Trump’s campaign who is seen as “a loyal soldier who is looking out for the interests of the President.”

Sources told DefenseNews that Ricardel was “a roadblock for nominees,” making it difficult for Mattis to fill top-level positions at the Pentagon.

Ricardel has allegedly imposed an ideological purity test that blocked many potential nominees. Sources said that the White House has blacklisted all candidates who signed “never Trump” letters during the election.

A source within the administration said that Ricardel’s opposition to “politically unacceptable” candidates was seen as a “badge of honor” in the White House.

“Mattis told the White House either Mira goes, or he walks,” one Pentagon source explained to Defense News. “They blinked.”

That full story is here. I have no doubt there will be more intrigue oozing out of Bedlam, and no doubt, Mr. Tweet will be back once again.

The Fake News Pandemic of 1942.

Library of Congress.

Library of Congress.

Politico has an excellent article up about a previous fake news pandemic. It would be good if we could all learn a lesson from the past.

Seventy-five years ago, tens of thousands of white Southerners responded with agitated concern when they learned both by word of mouth and in some regional newspapers that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was traveling widely throughout the former Confederate states, quietly organizing black women into secret “Eleanor Clubs.” The club motto, “A white woman in the kitchen by 1943,” portended a dangerous inversion of the region’s longstanding racial patterns.

It was already widely believed in the South that black men had been brazenly stockpiling ice picks, pistols, rifles and explosives in anticipation of a larger race riot. With millions of white men now serving in the armed forces and stationed away from their families, the story went, white communities were vulnerable to an impending assault. When that day came, black women—many of whom worked in domestic service—intended to force their white employers to cook and clean for them. “Eleanor Clubs are stirring up trouble that never should have arisen,” a white North Carolinian observed with worry. “Clubs are making the Negroes discontented, making them question their status.”

Of course, not a word of this was true. But that didn’t make these race rumors less vivid in the minds of many ordinary white Southerners.

[…]

The parallels between 1942 and today stand out. In both cases, a country undergoing profound demographic and economic change has proven hospitable to many of the same general types of rumors. In 1942, black men allegedly plotted a violent (and sexually violent) coup against white Americans. In more recent times, a Kenyan-born Muslim managed to capture the presidency, and encouraged violent Mexican criminals to vote illegally. Eleanor Roosevelt, a powerful first lady who did in fact champion black civil rights, was allegedly complicit in prompting a race war. Hillary Clinton, a powerful former first lady and would-be president, allegedly trafficked young girls through the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.

In both eras, for many white Americans—particularly many white men experiencing a decline in economic and political power—these rumors were and are a way to protest a world in which women and people of color demanded greater privilege.

Highly Recommended Reading. Good lessons for us all.

Sunday Facepalm.

facepalm_estatua1

Today, we have the Compleat Batshit Sweepstakes! Who will win? Will it be Rick Wiles, Cindy Jacobs, Wayne Allen Root, or Lance Wallnau? This is also the S word alliteration contest: pick the winner: from Wallnau, we have sabotaging, sniping and snarling enemies, and from Wiles, we have a slithering cabal of seditious snakes. I think, on pure word performance, Wiles has to take the trophy on S alliteration. The overall winner in the Batshit stakes I will leave up to the reader.

We’ll start with the master of hyperbolic bullshit, Rick Wiles, who is on quite the tear over the Satanistic Cabal of Pedophile Baby Sacrificers. (Why Lucifer comes into this, I don’t know. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. – Psalms 137.9).

Rick Wiles dedicated his radio program yesterday to warning that a secretive pedophile ring is working to destroy President Trump before he can expose their murderous global network.

Wiles said that Trump is “besieged by a slithering cabal of seditious snakes” who are attempting to carry out a coup against him at the behest of the “perpetual war and pedophilia party that has ruled America since they assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963.”

Huh. I really think someone is confused, because conservatives have always been the ones in favour of war. Pedophilia too, actually. I did not listen to the broadcast, that’s simply asking too much, so I don’t know if he expounded on this “perpetual war and pedophilia party” business, or how they managed to assassinate Kennedy. It really is true, isn’t it, that conspiracies never die. They just get twisted about now and again.

They’re fighting like cornered animals to prevent their pedophile network from being exposed. … It’s about the darkest, most disgusting, vilest corruption you can imagine. And if the American people ever find out the truth about their politicians and their celebrities in Hollywood and their TV idols and their favorite TV anchormen and women, and they find out all these great famous people and they find out that they’re just child molesters—not only molesters, but child murderers, sacrificing children to Satan. When they find out, they will drag their bloody carcasses down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., with meat hooks! They’ll have meat hooks in their carcasses.

Bloody carcasses! Meat hooks! Meat hooks in their carcasses! Jesus Fuck, the bloodthirstiness of some christians is truly frightening. At least you know where all the projection is coming from, although that’s not at all comforting. Honestly, I’d think that if such a cabal existed, and were descended from the amazing perpetual war and pedophilia party, they’d just quietly carry out another assassination, rather than attempt to ‘destroy’ the Tiny Tyrant, which I read here as discredit. No one at all has to work at discrediting the Tiny Tyrant or his regime, they are bumbling about, doing a fine job of that themselves. The full story is here, complete with soundcloud.

Up next, in the Seriously Eeeuuuuw! category, is Wayne Allen Root, with his praise of just how very much Trump loves business…

[Read more…]

Call It What It Is, Class Warfare.

Pyramid_of_Capitalist_System

Wikimedia. Click for full size.

Steve Rosenfeld has a good article up at Raw Story, about the insidiousness of the new, so-called healthcare plan. Definitely recommended, just a bit here:

It’s important to note what Republicans are not talking about. While their messaging is emphasizing premium increases under Obamacare and how the program’s insurance exchanges are suffering from lack of competition, the GOP is not discussing who is making undue profits in American health care. Nor are they discussing the simplest reform that would address the maladies they cite, allowing Obamacare states to create interstate pools where risk and costs could be shared among greater numbers of people and insurers.

While the politics of the Obamacare repeal effort are only beginning, what’s clear is its GOP sponsors are tinkering with the rules governing one-sixth of the economy in a manner that appears to be a giant transfer of wealth upward. These Republicans can talk about “free markets” and “individual choice” all they like, but there’s a better phrase for it: class warfare.

Republicans are poised to unleash a wave of health insecurity and economic hardship on poor, working- and middle-class Americans, as well as on the nation’s system of medical providers, public health institutions and social safety nets. On social insurance listservs and discussion forums Wednesday, there was a debate about what to call the GOP bill: The Deplorable Care Act? The Unaffordable Care Act? Trumpcare? The I Don’t Care Act? No matter what one chooses, this is class warfare and it will be painful.

If you aren’t rich, you’re going to find yourself getting poorer, and constantly caught between a rock and a hard place, none of which concerns the Regime in the least. All that matters to them is that the rich get richer, and the most basic of rights be reassigned to privileges available only to those who can pay for them. Go have a read!