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!

An Act of Malice.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) (Screen cap).

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) (Screen cap).

Someone with sense, and a grasp of reality! I wish I could post about such incidences often, but right now, I’ll take whatever I can get.

Noting that Ryan called the House GOP health care plan an “act of mercy,” Kennedy noted that there’s nothing at all in the New Testament that would justify stripping health insurance from millions of people.

“With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture,” said Kennedy. “The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick.”

The congressman then listed off all the ways that Trumpcare is far from merciful to the American people.

“There is is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury,” he said. “There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill… This is not an act of mercy — it is an act of malice.”

Looks like Joe inherited that silver Kennedy tongue. Here’s hoping it’s consistently put to good use. Via Raw Story, video at the link.

On the flip side of the coin, the Tiny Tyrant has come up with a cunning plan, a la Baldrick, for what to do if the new “healthcare” scam falls through: We’ll blame the Democrats! I have to wonder, really, if this wasn’t the intent the whole time – float a highly unpopular, unrealistic plan, let it go up in flames, allow ACA to collapse, and blame the democrats.

Washington (CNN) In an Oval Office meeting featuring leaders of conservative groups that already lining up against House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump revealed his plan in the event the GOP effort doesn’t succeed: Allow Obamacare to fail and let Democrats take the blame, sources at the gathering told CNN.

He also said:

The president insisted during the meeting that Trumpcare would be a big political winner, and he would sell it to the country by holding “stadium-sized” rallies for it.

There’s video at CNN, but be warned, it’s on annoying autoplay. Via Raw Story.

Also, the twitternet has erupted in mockery once again, over Mr. Tweet’s latest, in which he portrays the new health plan to be a beautiful picture.

Also see this:

House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare took its first step forward in Congress early Thursday morning, as the House Ways and Means Committee advanced the legislation at 4:30 a.m.

After nearly 18 hours of debate during which Democratic lawmakers tried to slow down the process, the committee voted 23–16 in favor of the bill.

Leaders of the Republican Party unveiled their plan to undo Obamacare on Monday evening. Now, they’re trying to fast-track the legislation through Congress despite considerable controversy surrounding the bill — which will leave millions more people uninsured, raise costs for low-income Americans, provide tax giveaways to insurance CEOs, and potentially trigger a death spiral in the individual insurance market.

Russia, Russia, Russia.

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Report: Trump adviser communicated with Russian hackers before election:

Roger Stone, a longtime confidant and adviser of Donald Trump, exchanged direct messages on Twitter with Guccifer 2.0 before the presidential election, according to a report published Wednesday by The Smoking Gun.

Authorities looked into Manafort protégé, an associate of an ex-Trump campaign chairman is suspected of connections to Russian intelligence:

U.S. and Ukrainian authorities have expressed interest in the activities of a Kiev-based operative with suspected ties to Russian intelligence who consulted regularly with Paul Manafort last year while Manafort was running Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

The operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, came under scrutiny from officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department partly because of at least two trips he took to the U.S. during the presidential campaign, according to three international political operatives familiar with the agencies’ interest in Kilimnik.

‘Everyday, a new piece falls into place’:

Part One:

Part Two:

The Dynamics of the Regime.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Trump administration’s agenda has started to solidify a month and a half after his inauguration. ThinkProgress checked in with scholars on authoritarianism to see how that agenda it’s taking shape. For people who have devoted their lives to studying anti-democratic movements, recent White House actions are more disturbing than ever.

[…] Trump’s language has spread not just to the media, but to supporters in politics. Take a recent tweet from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) where he claimed leakers needed to be ‘purged’:

@RealDonaldTrump needs to purge Leftists from executive branch before disloyal, illegal & treasonist acts sink us.

Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, and author of Populism, A Very Short Introduction: This is a great example of how the U.S. far right has become emboldened and more visible. Steve King has been a radical right voice in the U.S. House of Representatives for years and years. He started normalizing radical right politicians from Europe years ago, with Louis Gohmert and Michele Bachmann, meeting, among others, with [Dutch right-wing nationalist] Geert Wilders in 2015 and 2016, with [French right-wing nationalist] Marine Le Pen in 2016 and 2017, and with [German right-wing nationalist] Frauke Petry in 2016.

While the meetings were public, King seemed aware he was part of a fringe within the GOP that supported these parties. Now, as one can see in this tweet, King clearly feels Trump is on the same page. Like David Duke and other long-standing U.S. far right activists and politicians, they believe their time is now, and they call upon Trump to do what they have only dreamed off in the past decades. It again shows that Trump is not “alien” to the GOP. Not only does the majority of the GOP base support him, and most of his “controversial” policies, but many GOP members of Congress, particularly in the House, were always closer to him than to Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell.

This goes for all the Religious Reich, right wing pundits, and far right conspiracy theorists, too. They finally have the audience they have craved, with a power to back it up. There might be a minor disagreement here or there, but they will continue to back the Regime in order to get things they have dreamed about for decades.

Berman: It’s one thing to say leakers are bad or government employees shouldn’t be leaking classified information, but these kinds of terms or concepts — purging, enemies — are very dangerous. Again it’s a sign of no longer seeing yourself as a national community engaged with fellow citizens, but in a zero sum struggle going on here — and people opposed to you are not just different politically but enemies. It makes democracy impossible to function and a social consensus impossible to achieve.

Trump’s power is in his rhetoric — and not just policy — which is incredibly divisive. He’s creating problems, and the rhetoric itself makes it impossible to do what democracy requires: compromise and consensus.

Ben Ghiat: The tone of King’s Tweet — get them before they can wreck us — conveys this cornered feeling — and what might transpire.

Trump’s policies are messages aimed at the people of the United States. They say what kind of country, society, and culture his administration wants.

This one sentence ^ is one that apologists for Trump supporters need to take on board, stat. Most Trump supporters are not dismayed, they are happy with the way things are going. They are filled with bile and rage, bloated with a sense of entitlement, and they want other people to suffer.

Berman: The revised ban … claims to be something that keeps terrorists out of the U.S., even though there is empirically no evidence that it does that. But it speaks to his base and says, “Look, I did what I promised.”

[On undocumented immigrants] Trump is saying, “I’m enforcing the law.” Which is technically true, but he’s doing it in a way that is speaking to his base and breaking up families, which is very, very cruel. He’s doubling down, and it’s very attractive to a lot of people. It’s very powerful for lots of people who think politicians make promises they don’t keep.

Yes. Yes, it is. Anyone who takes 10 minutes here or there to read comments following the slightest criticism of the Regime will see just how much Trump supporters are in love with this.

I think what’s most worrying to me is the divisiveness that Trump is using to whip up his base and solidify support among true believers. He’s not winning anybody on the other side, and this is really problematic. Rolling back Obamacare is bad and banning people is a bad thing. It’s not entirely different from what we expected from other conservatives, but it’s really proven to be way, way, way different than with other candidates. And way more dangerous for democracy is this rhetoric, alternative facts, and inability to reach compromises with the other side of aisle. It’s truly pernicious, and what he’s managed in a couple months is really frightening.

Ben Ghiat: The separation of families and the further empowerment of ICE are unnecessary, cruel, and intimidating — and that is exactly their point. Causing human suffering and demoralization was built into this administration and emphasized in Trump’s dark inaugural address. They also show allies their commitment to the agenda of state racism. I see the setting up of immigrants as targets to be deported as part of a racist population management scheme which has [Chief Strategist Steve] Bannon as its mastermind, but plenty of help from the GOP.

We really aren’t all that far from concentration camps. A lot of people on the left insist this is hyperbole, no, it wouldn’t ever get that bad, checks and balances, all that. Well, all that hasn’t worked at all so far, has it? A lot people on the left said it could never reach the point it has, insisting on their rose-coloured glasses. “It won’t come to that.” It has come to that, and it’s going to get worse.

Mudde: As should have been clear to anyone watching President Trump’s joint session speech, he hasn’t changed. Yes, he read a speech from the teleprompter without going on rants, but every time he talked about the need to come together and not divide the nation, he pointed his hand in the direction of the Democrats. Moreover, despite the pandering to congressional Republicans — in terms of deregulation and overturning Obama legislation, particularly Obamacare — let there be no mistake that this was a Bannon-[Stephen] Miller speech.

The only topic of discussion after the speech, at least for liberals, should have been VOICE, i.e. the new federal program for Victims of Immigrant Crime Enforcement that he announced. This is an incredible example of nativist politics, distinguishing victims not on the basis of the crime or damage they have suffered, but the ethnicity/legal status of the perpetrator. It obviously serves the purpose to identify “immigrants” — not just undocumented ones — with crime and crime with immigrants.

The fact that self-appointed liberal spokesmen like Van Jones and Bill Maher hailed this speech for its presidentialism shows just how shallow and self-centered their opposition is. He didn’t go after “us,” so it was a good speech. In other words, for me, the main story of the last week was not anything Trump did, but the deep desire among conservatives and liberals to normalize Trump.

The sheer amount of people intent on normalising Trump and the Regime is terrifying in and of itself. I understand the desire, the constant onslaught of corruption and evil is difficult to deal with. Heads get filled with anxiety and depression, shoulders hunched and knotted with the weight of stress. There comes a point where the desire to just sink into denial is overwhelmingly welcome. Regardless, we can’t afford ourselves the narcotic of normalisation, we must all stand, as firm and bright torches blazing in the dark, lighting the way we must go.

Full story at Think Progress.

iPhone or Healthcare? Healthcare or iPhone? Updated.

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The long-awaited “replacement” to ACA has been revealed, and oh, it’s not good. People have been reacting, to say the least, and rethugs are desperately trying to come up with a defense.

The Republican Party’s proposed Obamacare replacement plan is already facing a storm of criticism, and Republican lawmakers are scrambling to defend it on cable news networks.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) appeared on CNN Tuesday morning to explain why obtaining health care is a matter of personal responsibility for millions of Americans, and not an area that requires government intervention.

In particular, Chaffetz said that, under the new GOP plan, poor Americans would be forced to make wise financial decisions if they really wanted to have access to health care.

“You know what, Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice,” he said. “And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care.”

Oh, there’s that peculiar notion of rethuglican choice again. “Here you are, you have no choice at all, isn’t that great? Now, make the right choice!” A couple of hundred dollars is not going to get anyone very far when it comes to healthcare. Anyone who has ended up with an out of pocket doctor visit could tell you that. Any money left over is eaten alive by prescription meds. Once again, we see a fine example of the loathsome and utterly disconnected attitude rethugs have towards people, especially those with wallets on the thin side – you uppity poor people really shouldn’t have anything except the very basics, it’s not right you have more! You only get a nifty phone or internet access once you’ve hauled yourself up by your bootstraps and made a fortune. Let’s have a dose of reality here, a subject which republicans consistently fail in:

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average premium for an individual health care plan in the United States is just over $235 per month. Buying an iPhone 7 through a wireless carrier and paying for it in installments over a two-year period costs $27 per month.

In other words, forsaking an iPhone 7 will save Americans enough money to pay for roughly 11% of what it would cost to get health insurance.

I’m not wealthy, and I don’t have a smartphone of any kind, but that’s because I don’t like phones. I still think all people should have healthcare, I don’t give the tiniest of shits what kind of gear they may or may not have, because that’s not in the least bit relevant. It is the same old ugly republican line, though: if you don’t have something, it’s your fault. Oh look, you got something. Well, it’s because of that you can’t have anything else. The basic fuck you, while avoiding any responsibility for it.

The so-called replacement plan is a travesty, and that’s an understatement. I’m sure people expected it to be, but as usual, the news is worse than what we imagined. Think Progress has a break down of 6 very important points to the new “plan”. Click on over for the full details, which are appalling.

House Republicans released on Monday a plan to undo Obamacare that will likely leave millions more Americans uninsured.

After significant internal division about the path forward on Obamacare, lawmakers unveiled two bills that, taken together, would repeal and replace President Obama’s signature health care reform law. House committees are expected to hold votes on the bills as early as this week.

Here’s what you need to know about the legislation, and what it says about the House GOP’s plan for the future of health insurance in America:

It includes massive cuts to Medicaid, the program that provides coverage for millions of low-income Americans.

It defunds Planned Parenthood and eliminates abortion coverage.

It includes a big tax break for insurance companies that pay their CEOs more than $500,000 per year.

A significant portion of the bill is devoted to ensuring lottery winners don’t have access to Medicaid.

It could trigger a “death spiral” in the individual insurance market.

It will result in a lot fewer people having health insurance.

Via Raw Story and Think Progress.

UPDATE: Oh my, looks like the Tiny Tyrant is scrambling for something, anything, in the face of the overwhelming scorn for “Trumpcare”. This hasn’t stopped the appearance of Mr. Tweet, though, who started out with this:

Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster – is imploding fast!

Jesus. How can anyone be that fucking disconnected from reality and still be on the planet?

Also see: How would repealing the Affordable Care Act affect health care and jobs in your state?

 Across the country, 29.8 million people would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed—more than doubling the number of people without health insurance. And 1.2 million jobs would be lost—not just in health care but across the board.

“It is a total witch hunt!”

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President Donald Trump and the Russian foreign minister used the same phrase to push back against the widening scandal engulfing the White House.

[…]

Trump said in his statement late Thursday that Sessions was “an honest man” who “did not say anything wrong” by denying during his Senate confirmation any contacts with Russian officials — despite having twice met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.

“He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional,” Trump said in his statement.

There’s a mouthful of double speak. If Sessions spoke more accurately, that would have meant telling the truth. As he didn’t, it was an intentional case of lying, full stop. It’s a simple question: did you meet with so and so? Here’s how to answer that one: yes or no. Could not possibly be more simple. There simply isn’t double speak wiggle room here, regardless of the shit the Tiny Tyrant is pumping out. And if there’s some sort of claim that Sessions just didn’t remember, fine, then that means he’s too damn old for the job, kick him out.

“This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win,” the president continued. “The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled his agreement with Trump early Friday and also denounced the scandal as a “witch hunt.”

“I can cite the media that say all this is very much reminiscent of a witch hunt and the McCarthyism era which we all thought was long gone,” Lavrov said.

This whole narrative is about corrupt liars with Nazi inclinations infesting the white house. This whole narrative is about a puppet regime. This whole narrative, well, this could go on all day. As for this godsdamn witch hunt bullshit, enough! Stop it already. It’s not in the least a witch hunt, has nothing at all in common with a witch hunt. Anyone seen The Inquisition around lately? Seen gibbets with corpses hanging? Stakes with people on fire, greasy oily smoke? No? Then shut the fuck up. Criticism is not a witch hunt. Attempting to find out the truth is not a witch hunt. Asking questions is not a witch hunt. This is the cry of fucking idiots everywhere, and in many cases, the cry of guilty fucking idiots. Oh, and McCarthyism was a commie hunt, just so you know.

Full story here.

Just One Question…

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Oh, the roiling turmoil, the ducking, the dodging, the calls for resignation, yada, yada, yada. Lots of headlines over Sessions right now. He lied. He committed perjury. Surely, I can’t be the only person not in the least bit surprised. What would surprise me is if any of the current cabinet didn’t lie during confirmation hearings. So, all the headlines:

Sessions lied to Congress about his contacts with Russia during the Trump campaign. Here’s the tape.

Jeff Sessions said that people who commit perjury must be removed from office.

Jeff Sessions’ shifting, deceptive explanations for his secret meetings with Russia.

48 Congressional Democrats call on Attorney General to resign.

US Attorney General Sessions says to recuse himself when ‘appropriate’.

Just one question, and this goes for every person, not just Sessions – why in the fuck were these people ever confirmed in the first place? It would have been nice if all the democrats had been busy doing their damn job then.

A “Normal” Moment.

Trump humps flag. Twitter.

Trump humps flag. Twitter.

It seems that a good deal of media and regular folks are falling all over themselves about how reasonable Trump’s speech was, it was all so gosh darn normal, oh my yes! Except it wasn’t. It was the same old shit, wrapped up in the flag and exceptional Americanism, with a white nationalist filling. Raw Story has a brief article about this, noting the White House surprise at how media pundits were won over by this speech.

President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night got glowing reviews from some pundits on cable news — and it turns out even the White House is surprised by how easily they were won over.

Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted on Wednesday morning that some sources he’s talked with in the White House are “frankly surprised at how pundits are warming to the speech.”

This is particularly surprising to them, Costa writes, because “Trump has not changed” and there is “no big shift in policy coming.”

Think Progress has a longer piece about this piece of bullshit which too many people are swallowing whole. Interestingly, the white supremacist scum are thrilled about it, because instead of paying attention to the bits of trapping, they focused on actual content, which is a gift to Nazis everywhere.

Speaking to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump portrayed the United States as an island of civilization under siege from immigrant cartels and terrorists posing as refugees.

Trump touted a new Department of Homeland Security office that will target “criminal aliens.” He lied about immigration’s effect on the U.S. economy, boasted about sharp rollbacks to the regulatory state, renewed his call for eradicating the Affordable Care Act, hinted at further efforts to privatize the American education system, and offered a strident defense of his administration’s Muslim ban. At no point did he deviate from the “nationalist-populist” ideology his administration has adopted under top strategist Steve Bannon, former chairman of the white-nationalist website Breitbart.

On the other hand, Trump also read off a teleprompter, tossed off a cursory denunciation of “hate,” and wrapped up the speech with some pablum about how Americans should believe in themselves.

Those minor grace points were enough to earn Trump rapturous applause from the usual pundit gaggle, which is evidently willing to embrace a white-nationalist policy agenda if the presentation includes a few Hallmark aphorisms and leaves out any overt racial slurs.

CNN’s Van Jones said Trump “became President of the United States” when he acknowledged the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL, who was sitting in the audience.

Oh FFS, really? Trump acts like a normal person for 10 fucking seconds, and people are tripping over their tongues at how great he is? Jesus Fucking Christ, it’s not enough, it’s just not enough to say we are in trouble here. We are past trouble. There aren’t even words. We’re up to our neck in fascism, but it’s okay, because someone managed to get Trump to read some nice words from a teleprompter. Why didn’t anyone bother to note that Ms. Owens wouldn’t have been a grieving widow if it weren’t for Trump’s ego and need to play war? That Trump doesn’t want to go along with the investigation requested by Owen’s father? No, he’s so very presidential because he addressed a widow.

The vile Nazi scum were elated, but for reasons grounded in reality:

David Duke @DrDavidDuke

Hail to the Chief – No change on policy to deport illegals and on track to CUT major legal immigration necessary to take our country back!

Richard ? Spencer @RichardBSpencer

After the PC bullshit is out of the way, Trump is making a Trump speech.#trumpaddress

So, what’s it going to take for all the non-Nazi scum to see what’s actually being said and what’s actually going on?

Via Think Progress.

Also see:

Trump lied. Right-wing extremists — not foreigners — commit more terror attacks in the U.S.

Trump’s address to Congress was riddled with falsehoods about the energy industry.

Trump was so busy attacking immigrants he barely acknowledged hate crimes.

Trump draws a fake conclusion from a study that actually finds immigration is good for the economy.

Behind Breitbart.

POLITICO screen shot.

POLITICO screen shot.

Back in November, Breitbart began the process to secure official Capitol Hill credentials. On Friday, the site’s CEO, Larry Solov, appeared before the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery and revealed, for what is believed to be the first time, who owns the right-wing nationalist site that has grown exponentially in influence over the past few years.

According to BuzzFeed’s Steve Perlberg, who live-tweeted the meeting, Solov revealed that the owners are himself, founder Andrew Breitbart’s widow, Susie Breitbart, and the Republican megadonor family the Mercers. Breitbart’s family owns the largest stake.

Within the rules of admission to the gallery, there is a clause that states the person and organization holding the pass “must not be engaged in any lobbying or paid advocacy, advertising, publicity or promotion work for any individual, political party, corporation, organization, or agency of the U.S. government.” In order to prove that they are not engaged in any of the above and are an editorially independent institution, the Standing Committee can ask for information or proof on how the business is structured.

Solov said during the meeting that he wants “to disclose as little as possible about financial and ownership structure.” But the Standing Committee had questions, per Perlberg, about Steve Bannon’s involvement. Bannon was Breitbart’s chairman until he joined the Trump campaign last August, and is now chief strategist at the White House.

In the meeting, the committee asked for proof of Bannon’s disassociation from the site. Solov said Bannon resigned to him “via phone,” but the committee said it wanted a letter stating the date of his resignation, that it’s a termination and not a leave, and for the letter to address any editorial and financial interest.

“If I could get Bannon to write it down, I would,” Solov said, according to Perlberg.

[…]

In the meantime, Breitbart reporters have been able to report from the Capitol using a temporary pass, until a decision has been reached on permanent credentials.

Other publications, such as the well-regarded SCOTUSblog, have been denied credentials by the gallery. In the case of SCOTUSblog, it was because of the dual role of the publisher, who was also the proprietor of a law firm that argues before the court.

Unfortunately, this is what now comprises business as usual. Open corruption, a convenient double standard for Nazis, fascists, and religious fanatics (xian only, natch), while a pretended adherence to law when it comes to anyone who might actually report the truth. From what I’ve seen, this news has sunk before it got so much as three strokes in, quietly disappearing beneath the roiling waves of the Trump regime. I have no doubt that suits Bannon, who doesn’t seem any more disposed to cut off business ties than Trump. Bannon also prefers to work in the shadows, quietly, so he can’t have been pleased about this making any news at all, but as it seems all but buried now, I’m sure he’s breathing easier. Bannon’s ability to slink away from focus is a problem, because I expect we’ll all pay dearly if we forget about his fine hand behind the unpresidency.

Via Politico.

Water, What Is It Good For?

Oh, who needs clean water, I mean that stuff isn’t good for anything at all, right? It’s not as if life is dependent on it or anything, after all, we can adapt to drinking toxic sludge.

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign a measure on Wednesday aimed at rescinding a major Obama administration water regulation and direct an end to the government’s defense of the rule, a Trump official briefed on the plan said on Friday.

Trump is expected to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which expands the number of waterways that are federally protected under the Clean Water Act.

The rule was finalized by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May 2015, and was blocked by a federal appeals court pending further court challenges.

The rule has faced intense opposition from Republicans in Congress, farmers and energy companies.

Critics contend the rule vastly expands the federal government’s authority and could apply to ditches and small isolated bodies of water. The EPA under President Barack Obama said the rule protects waters that are next to rivers and lakes and their tributaries “because science shows that they impact downstream waters.”

Full story here.

The Trump Regime is also busy attempting to hasten the death of everything in every way possible. Here’s reading:

Former member of Trump’s EPA transition team suggests air pollution doesn’t kill people. 4.2 million people died prematurely from air pollution in 2015.

Trump’s EPA policies risk more Alzheimer’s cases, doctors warn. Two new studies support findings that polluted air causes dementia.

Trump’s allies have some of the worst environmental voting records in Congress.

There’s much more here.

This Is Our Land.

Water Protectors Leave Oceti Sakowin Reluctantly.

‘Absolutely False’: No Contact From Trump Administration, Archambault Says.

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NODAPL; The Last Stand © Marty Two Bulls.
 
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No DAPL; Beware the Early Thaw © Marty Two Bulls.

Everyday Folks, Regular Americans.

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Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, Circa 1500.

The Trump Circus spokespeople have a new, stupid spin on all the money being wasted by the Tiny Tyrant’s need to be hangin’ with his cronies constantly, rather than staying in the white house, like he fucking promised he would, and working. The new excuse? Oh, why being in Florida allows everyday folks, y’know, regular Americans to have access to the prez. Trouble is, that access costs $200,000, taxes, and $14,000 per year in dues. That’s around four times the median income for all those regular Americans. A person could get the feeling that the spokespeople aren’t even phoning it in at this point.

The three consecutive weekends the Tiny Tyrant has already spent in Florida have cost taxpayers about $10 million, which is slightly less than what President Obama spent on travel for a whole year.

The president — whose first budget proposal would eliminate a program that helps provide poor Americans with lawyers, among other cuts — doesn’t seem worried about the burden his unnecessary trips to Mar-a-Lago may place on taxpayers. CNN reports that, with the exception of next weekend, businesses in the Palm Beach area “say they have been told to expect the President every weekend until May.”

Every weekend until May. That’s a lot of picked pockets – Everyday Folks, Regular Americans are going to be picked clean, bone dry, by the Tiny Tyrant’s need to feel validated. None of this seems to bother Trump supporters much, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. If it were Clinton doing this, the howls of outrage would be deafening – “how dare she go on vacation every weekend at our expense!?” and so on. Same applies if it had been President Obama doing this – repubs would never shut the fuck up about how awful, evil, and immoral such an action would be, but Tiny Tyrant? “Oh, that’s okay, we don’t mind that he’s stripping us of all our rights and protections, picking our pockets and destroying our future, it’s greeeeaaaaat!” I just don’t grok it. At all.

Along with removing a very important program which helps people with legal problems (linked above ^) they generally have no recourse to deal with, the rethugs have finally gotten an idiot in office who will go along with killing off the NEA (federal arts funding), public broadcasting, AmeriCorps, and educational television for children. None of these programs cost much at all, and cutting them cannot be justified under “budget!”, but the right wing ideologists have hated them for ages.

While Trump spent millions in taxpayer dollars on travel during his first month in office, his team put together a budget proposal that would cut cultural institutions and important services for poor people.

The proposal would eliminate “longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities,” the New York Times reports. “Most of the programs cost under $500 million annually, a pittance for a government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion this year.”

Important Reading:

Trump’s first month of travel expenses cost taxpayers just less than what Obama spent in a year.

Trump spox says Mar-a-Lago makes him accessible to ‘regular Americans.’ Memberships cost $200,000.

Trump’s first budget would end program to help low-income Americans get lawyers.

The Rich Are Different: Buying Access to the President.

Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File.

Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File.

It’s a very old saying, the rich are different. It’s true, they are, by virtue of money, and the power money purchases. If they are different as people, it’s because money allows them to be arrogant, compassion free, unethical assholes without consequence. No, not every rich person on the planet is a truly shitty person, but they are rare birds in the flock of the rich. Rich people are accustomed to getting their way, using the time-honored method of greasing palms and opening doors with wedges of cash and promises. Now that we have someone in the white house who wouldn’t know an ethical behaviour if it bit him on the balls, the slime trail of the rich is visible from space.

According to a New York Times piece published on Saturday, Trump’s son Eric told the newspaper that Mar-a-Lago admits about 20 to 40 new members each year. Considering that Mar-a-Lago raised its initiation fees to $200,0000 after Trump’s presidential inauguration, that’s up to $8 million dollars coming in from new members per year. And that doesn’t include taxes or the $14,000 charge for each member’s annual dues.

Trump and his closest advisers have repeatedly denied there’s anything improper about Trump’s members-only club in Palm Beach. They say it doesn’t amount to paying for access to President Trump because the club is social, not political. And they argue the powerful people who pay for membership have other avenues of communicating with the president.

That’s an argument? I fail to see it.

“He has not and will not be discussing policy with club members,” White House spokesperson Holly Hicks said in a statement provided to the New York Times.

But reporting from the Times and from Politico suggests otherwise.

Real estate executive Bruce Toll told the New York Times that he does occasionally discuss national policy issues — specifically, Trump’s plans to increase spending on infrastructure projects — when he sees Trump at Mar-a-Lago. According to Toll, Trump sometimes receives advice from other club members about what he should do policy-wise.

Developer Richard LeFrak, a close friend of Trump’s, recounted a discussion at Mar-a-Lago last weekend during which Trump asked him for help with the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump was unhappy with the projected cost of the wall, wanted to come up with a way to build it more cheaply, and suggested that the head of the Department of Homeland Security would give LeFrak a call to talk about it.

And according to an audio tape obtained by Politico from one of Trump’s New Jersey clubs that was also published on Saturday, Trump has asked his club members for their guidance selecting his cabinet appointees.

“We were just talking about who we [are] going to pick for the FCC, who [are] we going to pick for this, who we gonna accept — boy, can you give me some recommendations?” Trump said to a member, according to the tape.

[…]

This weekend, Trump is planning to use Mar-a-Lago to meet with potential candidates he’s considering to fill the National Security Adviser position recently vacated by Michael Flynn.

Of course, it’s not unusual for world leaders to surround themselves with rich and powerful people. But it is unique to be able to pay $200,000 for entry into a private club where multiple sources close to the president have confirmed he’s at his most relaxed and ready to mingle.

Applications to Mar-a-Lago have surged since Trump won the presidency.

Democratic lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have demanded more information about who holds a membership at Mar-a-Lago and how closely they have been vetted. The urgency increased after last weekend, when Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed a potential North Korea crisis in full view of the diners and waiters at his club.

Trump has spent the past three weekends at Mar-a-Lago even though he promised during the campaign that he would “rarely leave the White House.”

The system of government in the States has always been susceptible to corruption, it’s not the most well thought out system. I would say that no sitting president has ever been as open to corruption, and so willing to embrace it in full view of the public at large as the Tiny Tyrant. Donny isn’t capable of governing, he isn’t even capable of running a proper business, and hates being in the white house, acting as president. No, he only feels capable when he’s immersed in the foul cronyism of the monied, who he can slither over to for ‘advice’ on how to president, as he is utterly bankrupt when it comes to the little things, like intelligence, planning, and knowledge.

Via Think Progress.