1. microraptor says

    Ogvorbis @496:

    I just assume that Trump’s lying whenever his lips are moving. Saves time.

  2. says

    Rick Wilson wrote an article for The Daily Beast, “White House Death Match: Plutocrats vs. Racists.” Excerpts below:

    […] Trump’s populist base and advisers are getting their asses kicked by […] Washington insiders, swamp dwellers, and Team Goldman so thoroughly it’s surprising they can even sit. […]

    On one side, Steve Bannon’s “populist” wing advocates for a culture-war government of signifiers and winks to their alt-reich, alt-light, and alt-facts cohorts. Their Cartmanesque race warrrrrr tough talk on Muslim bans, border walls, trade wars, and lock-’em-up-and-hang-’em-high law enforcement complete with a Reefer Madness revival all come down to a not-so-subtle message: “Trump will take care of the scary brown people for you.” […]

    Bannon and Team Pepe ran into a hard wall of political and cultural reality; most of what they want Trump to do is box-office poison to anyone except his most febrile supporters, and […] the Bannonites made it worse with sloppy execution, terrible messaging, legislative wrong-footedness, and a stubborn belief that their beloved bullshit tornado was a substitute for governance. […]

    At this point, Pepe has a sad. Aside from Jeff Sessions at Justice, the alt-reich sleeper cell in the White House has been marginalized and diminished almost beyond recognition. […] Trump has decided Team Goldman and the Swamp dwellers are more to his liking. […]

    As for Trump’s base, if they can briefly rouse themselves from their Fox-n-OxyContin stupor, they’d realize they were conned by the populist scam and that the White House today is run by people more than willing to leverage every tool in the D.C. toolbox to enrich the Wall Street mothership. […]

    The losers in this fight? Trump’s base.
    They get nothing.
    No Wall. […]

    The next thing you know, Trump won’t deliver on his promises of a zillion coal miners heading down-pit on the daily. […]

    A trillion dollar stimulus plan? Team Goldman loves it since it’s not even project-driven, but largely a set of tax giveaways to favored sectors and companies. Obamacare repeal with a poison pill that is bound to include features that will piss off red-state voters just in time for 2018 and still give insurance and pharma a sweet, sweet payday? Check!

    The Trump tax plan? Lord knows I’m all for lowering rates and simplifying the tax code. […] a single page of bullet points to paper over a deficit hole that goes a trillion or two deep isn’t terribly serious. As one economist said to me yesterday, “The scoring on that plan better be really, really dynamic.”

    So 100 days in, the plutocrats are spanking the racists as Trump has chosen a domestic leadership team utterly at odds with his base. But that means Team Goldman needs to produce, or get spanked themselves—don’t count Bannon and his barely-disguised alt-reich ideology out just yet.

  3. says

    Stephen Colbert wondered aloud about Trump not reading what he is signing (a reference to Trump having said that he “sometimes” reads the executive orders):

    Sometimes he looks at the things he’s signing? Sometimes? Just randomly? Not all the time? Has anyone tried putting a resignation letter in front of him? It’s worth a shot.

    The video is 6:54 minutes long.

  4. says

    This is great – CREW’s Trump Inc: A Chronicle of Presidential Conflicts.

    It’s really breathtaking. Trump, his family and associates are like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park testing the fence. Each time they see the Republicans aren’t going to do anything to stop them or that the media will just move on, they become a bit more brazen and shameless, increasingly relishing and celebrating their corruption openly.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Does anyone else have the knee-jerk mental reaction I do? Every time Trump says, “Believe me,” I automatically think his is lying.

    Con men always say “believe me”. They must control the facts, not reality.
    It is a poker tell the equivalent of pulling on your nose to make it longer every time you bluff.

  6. says

    Marine Le Pen – with the help of Russian media – is now opportunistically appealing to Mélenchon’s supporters. This morning she put out a pandering video on Twitter addressed to them.


    [W]hat many have taken from [Mélenchon’s] rhetoric is that both candidates now competing for the presidency are so reprehensible, so poisonous to their aspirations, that the only respectable option is to sit out the election’s final round.

    Their blanket rejection brooks little subtlety, except for a slightly more sympathetic attitude toward Le Pen. Macron, they argue, is an undercover agent of international finance who will waste no time turning France into a gigantic casino for the ultra-rich. Le Pen runs a racist party, “but at least she has the merit of criticizing the banks,” wrote one Facebook poster.

    To partisans of the “ni ni” vote, it does not matter that one of the candidates, namely Le Pen, is under investigation for having allegedly misused funds from the European Parliament. Nor does it appear to make any difference that Jean-François Jalkh, the man nominated to take over the leadership of her National Front party while she focuses on the presidential runoff, was shown to have disputed the use of Zyklon B in the Nazi gas chambers. (Jalkh stepped down to “defend himself” against accusations of Holocaust revisionism.)

    According to this school of thought, Macron’s links to high finance are at least as bad, if not worse, than the National Front’s long legacy of Holocaust revisionism, racism, and xenophobia. “I should not have to choose between two forms of fascism,” wrote another Mélenchon supporter in a Facebook post two days after the election’s first round. “Democracy is about choosing a candidate whose beliefs you share.”

    Many of his supporters are young, politically inexperienced, and unaccustomed to slow struggles that involve strategic voting, alliances, organizing, and direct action and often face multiple setbacks. They’re also uncomprehending of the nature of Le Pen’s fascism and just what a sleazy Kremlin-backed manipulator she is. They don’t appreciate the danger. For many, regardless of the outcome, abstaining in this election will be a source of great shame and regret in the future, and there’s nothing arrogant or disrespectful about explaining that. What Mélenchon has been doing so far amounts to political malpractice. The article does note:

    Mélenchon, aged 65, has declined to offer his mostly young supporters any guidance on what to do in the second round. Breaking with a decades-old tradition by which left- and right-wing candidates work together to keep the far-right out of power, Mélenchon also failed to clarify his personal choice or come out with a critical word against Le Pen, whom he has nonetheless denounced in the past. (Mélenchon said he would consult members of his France Unbowed movement through a vote before clarifying his own stance in a YouTube video, which has yet to be published.)

    This isn’t really leadership, but I can only hope they shake some sense into him and his video appears soon.

  7. says

    From the Kansas City Star’s editorial board:

    Next week, Kansas lawmakers will once again try to figure out how to cover a massive shortfall in the state’s budget.

    We hope President Donald Trump will be in the gallery, taking notes. That’s because the president’s tax plan, unveiled by the White House Wednesday, strongly resembles the disastrous tax plan passed in Kansas in 2012.

    Trump wants to consolidate individual tax brackets and lower the top rate. He would eliminate some deductions and, most crucially, dramatically reduce taxes for business owners, including millions of people who own businesses but pay taxes on their profits as individuals.

    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s 2012 tax reform blueprint was quite similar, and we know why. The same worn-out supply-side “experts” helped write both proposals. […]

    […] the president, the Congress and millions of Americans may be somewhat unfamiliar with the outcome of what Gov. Sam Brownback once called a “real live experiment” in tax policy.

    No problem. We’re happy to offer some of the lessons we’ve learned first-hand over the last five years:

    ▪ The economy won’t grow at the rate you think. Brownback promised his tax cuts would provide a “shot of adrenaline” to the Kansas economy.

    It never happened. Job growth in Kansas has lagged behind peer states, neighboring states and even some states that raised taxes.

    A recently published academic paper suggests why: Kansans used the small business exemption to avoid taxes, not to add workers.

    The governor and his allies blame slow growth on unanticipated slumps in the farming and energy sectors. That merely proves tax cuts are usually less significant than other macro-economic trends.

    The American economy is changing dramatically. Health care jobs are up, while retail jobs have collapsed. Coal mining isn’t coming back.

    Giving companies a huge tax break won’t change that.

    ▪ The deficit will increase. Remember when Republicans worried about the federal deficit? Good times. […]

  8. says

    I think Trump may be about to experience another “nobody knew how difficult …” moment. Trump told Reuters:

    I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians. There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians — none whatsoever.

    Trump might use his “nobody knew how complicated,” or his “it turns out …” phrases, but the conclusion will be the same. Trump is ridiculous and ignorant, and he projects his ignorance onto everyone. I resent that. Trump blusters, bloviates, and boasts … then reality slaps him the face and he retreats.

  9. says

    Unlike many presidents before him, Trump decided it was a good idea to be a featured speaker at the National Rifle Association’s annual conference. His speech was larded with NRA talking points, and with support for other Republican politicians:

    […] “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” part of a a speech that was light on policy but heavy on conservative shout-outs and campaign rhetoric.

    Trump noted the impending election [in Georgia] in his remarks.

    “She’s totally for the NRA and she’s totally for the Second Amendment, so get out and vote,” he said of [Karen] Handel. “You know, she’s running against someone who’s going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care and he’s for open borders — lots of crime — and he’s not even able to vote in the district that he’s running in, other than that, I think he’s doing a fantastic job. Right? So get out and vote for Karen.”

    The endorsements didn’t stop there: Trump praised Singer Lee Greenwood (“We’re all very proud, indeed, to be an American.”); Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, whose ouster was reported Friday (“Those people have been fantastic, they’ve been real friends.”); Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society Leonard Leo (“They really helped us out.”); Govs. Rick Scott, Phil Bryant and Nathan Deal; and Sens. David Perdue (R-GA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) (“Like, dislike, like,” Trump said of his relationship with the latter).

    NBC’s Ali Vitali reported a sighting of Donald Trump Jr. in the audience, despite the Trump scion’s pledge to stay away from government. […]

    “I have a feeling that in the next election you’re going to be swamped with candidates, but you’re not going to be wasting your time,” he told the group. “You’ll have plenty of those Democrats coming over and you’re going to say, ‘No, sir, no thank you, no, ma’am,’”

    “It may be Pocahontas, remember that,” Trump said,[…]

    The speech was celebratory, even triumphant, though it frequently veered abruptly away from the truth.

    “The NRA protects in our capitals and legislative houses the freedoms that our service members have won for us on those incredible battlefields,” Trump said. “And it’s been a tough fight against those who would go so far as to ban private gun ownership entirely.”

    No national office-holding Democrat has proposed banning private gun ownership. […]

  10. says

    Follow-up to comment 11.

    Another excerpt from Trump’s speech to the NRA annual conference:

    It’s truly wonderful to be back in Atlanta and back with my friends at the NRA. You’re my friends. […] It was in the middle of a historic year and in the middle of a truly historic election. What fun that was? November 8th. Wasn’t that a great evening? Do you remember that evening? […]

    Hundreds of times I heard, there is no — you know, there’s no route. There is no route to 270 and we ended with 306. […] That was some evening. [..]

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, checked up on the Bundy Sr. Trial. The jury convicted 2 out 6 accused, and were deadlocked on the four. A retrial will occur.

    A federal jury in Las Vegas found two men guilty Monday in an armed standoff that stopped government agents from rounding up cattle near Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch in 2014, but then deadlocked on federal charges against four others.
    The six men were the first to be tried in the standoff, which was hailed as a victory by states’ rights advocates who want vast stretches of federal land in the U.S. West put under local control.
    Their case was seen as a preview for an upcoming trial for Bundy; his eldest sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy; and two others who prosecutors have characterized as leaders of a conspiracy to defy the government with guns.
    The judge declared a mistrial for Richard Lovelien, Scott Drexler, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart and scheduled a new trial for June 26, the same day the Bundys are set to be tried.
    Earlier, the same jury convicted Gregory Burleson, 53, of Phoenix, of eight charges, including threatening and assaulting a federal officer. He faces a minimum of 57 years in prison at sentencing July 26.
    Todd Engel, 49, of Boundary County, Idaho, was found guilty of obstruction and traveling across state lines in aid of extortion. Engel could face up to 30 years at sentencing July 27.

  12. says

    Rachel Maddow reported last night that (Andrea Mitchell reports that) there’s evidence the WH and transition did do a background check on Flynn and knew about his undisclosed work for Turkey. The latter of course we already knew because it was in the news and Pence was informed of it by Cummings and Flynn’s lawyers, but it demonstrates clearly that a) they’ve been lying about not doing any vetting themselves; b) Pence was lying when he said on TV in March that he was just learning about it (because he’s an accomplice); and c) there’s obviously documentation they’re lying about not having and hiding from the House Oversight Committee.

  13. says

    Some of the Russian hackers were paid by the Trump Organization, or so the dossier given to the UK government last December alleged:

    […] The December memo alleged that four Trump representatives travelled to Prague in August or September in 2016 for “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers”, about how to pay hackers secretly for penetrating Democratic party computer systems and “contingency plans for covering up operations”.

    Between March and September, the December memo alleges, the hackers used botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs and steal data online from Democratic party leadership. Two of the hackers had been “recruited under duress by the FSB” the memo said. The hackers were paid by the Trump organisation, but were under the control of Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration. […]

    The Guardian link

  14. says

    Follow-up to comments 11 and 12.

    Guns were banned at Trump’s NRA speech.

    The US Secret Service said Thursday attendees at President Donald Trump’s speech Friday at the National Rifle Association’s annual meetings in Atlanta will have to leave their firearms outside. […]

    CNN link

    Georgia, where the NRA’s annual conference was held, and where Trump spoke, is an “open carry” state. A permit to carry a weapon openly is required. The US Secret Service is more practical than is the NRA. They weren’t going to let the president speak in front of an audience of people armed with guns.

  15. says

    Here are some excerpts from the press briefing in which Trump’s tax “plan” was described by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and top economic aide Gary Cohn. Some of the excerpts are followed by fact-checking that was done by the Associated Press.

    […] MNUCHIN, on Trump having “no intention” of releasing his own tax returns ever: “The president has released plenty of information and I think has given more financial disclosure than anybody else. I think the American population has plenty of information.”

    THE FACTS: Trump has released less than other presidents in modern times. […]

    During last year’s election campaign, Trump argued that he couldn’t release his taxes because he was under an audit by the IRS. That reason didn’t hold up, because being under audit is no legal bar to a candidate from releasing tax returns. On Wednesday, Mnuchin seemed to abandon even that explanation.

    What Trump has released are financial disclosure forms that list his assets and liabilities in broad ranges, required by law. But those forms don’t disclose precise numbers, and they include nothing about a person’s income or charitable giving — data disclosed only in tax returns.

    […] he [Trump] would have benefited massively by an elimination of the alternative minimum tax — a feature of his just-outlined tax plan. And three pages that surfaced last year showed he had claimed a $916 million loss on his 1995 return, which could be used to reduce his taxes by offsetting later gains.

    MNUCHIN: “This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country.”

    THE FACTS: […] An early analysis by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates federal revenue would probably drop $5.5 trillion over a decade under the Trump plan, shy of Reagan’s record-breaker. That assumes all elements of the plan are approved by Congress, which is unlikely. […]

    MNUCHIN: The tax plan “will pay for itself with growth,” reduced deductions and “closing loopholes.”

    THE FACTS: […] Reagan’s steep cut in 1981 contributed to years of deficits, even after he was forced to raise some taxes in subsequent years to stem the red ink. President George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were also followed by large deficits.

    “No tax cut has ever been self-financing,” said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. […]

    COHN: “We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive and we’re going to cut taxes for the American people, especially low- and middle-income families.”

    THE FACTS: […] the wealthiest people in the United States will receive the biggest cuts under Trump’s plan, though many low- and middle-income families would benefit, too. […] plan is similar in outline to Trump’s campaign proposal, which would have given nearly half its benefits to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, while middle-income households would have received barely 7 percent of the cuts.

    The White House is also proposing to eliminate the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, both of which primarily impact upper-income Americans. […]

    The biggest windfall for rich people could come from Trump’s plan to lower the top tax rate for small-business owners to 15 percent from 39.6 percent. The true effect will depend on how the Trump administration defines a small-business owner. If the tax cut applies to all business income reported on individual tax returns, it would be a huge benefit for many wealthy families. […]

  16. microraptor says

    Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has introduced a bill to transit the US to 100% renewable energy usage by 2050.

    Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) knows the bill he introduced on Thursday to transition the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 probably won’t become law anytime soon.

    But, as one of the Senate’s most hawkish environmentalists, this is his moonshot.

    “It’s the equivalent of to Kennedy saying ‘we’re going to put an American on the moon, and we’re going to do it by the end of the decade,’” Merkley told HuffPost by phone on Friday, referring to former President John F. Kennedy’s historic May 1961 speech. “When Kennedy said that, we didn’t have the technology, we didn’t have it figured out but we knew what we wanted.”

    Eight years later, astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped off Apollo 11 and onto the surface of the moon. Thirty-three years from now, Merkley hopes every car, power plant and factory is powered by zero-emissions energy.

    “We may not be able to get a hearing on it at this point. We may not be able to get it in the Oval Office, but we can engage people in discussions that will become not whether to do it, but how,” Merkley said. “What this bill does is say we have to take on every sector of the energy economy.”

    Called “the 100 by ‘50 Act,” the bill ― co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) ― is more of a rallying cry than a viable policy proposal, as HuffPost first reported earlier this month. The Republican-dominated Congress is unlikely to even give the bill a hearing, let alone advance it to the desk of President Donald Trump, a staunch fossil fuel advocate whose administration appears to spend more time antagonizing environmentalists than listening to them.
    Sen. Merkley during a news conference on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on legislation he is sponsoring that is aimed at eliminating U.S. dependence on overseas oil by 2030.

  17. blf says

    It’s right next to the one that launches a nuclear strike on a random country.

    Maybe someone could rewire the nuclear one to go to the Coke butler, too.

    I’m not too convinced teh hair furor high on sugar and caffeine is an improvement.

  18. says

    MSNBC is thinking of hiring Hugh Hewitt as an anchor, and the NY Times hired climate-science-denier Bret Stephens to comment on the climate. WTF is going on?

    How is that new hire going, NYT editors? And, as an aside, why aren’t you doing your job?

    Bolding is mine.

    The very first column the New York Times published by extreme climate science denier Bret Stephens is riddled with errors, misstatements, unfair comparisons, straw men, and logical fallacies.

    Leading climatologist Dr. Michael Mann emailed ThinkProgress: “This column confirms my worst fear: That the NY Times management is now willingly abetting climate change denialism.” […]

    The Stephens column proves three things:
    Bret Stephens doesn’t understand the first thing about climate science (and he provides no actual facts to support his claims).

    The NY Times editorial page staff apparently also doesn’t understand climate science.

    Editorial page editor James Bennet was not telling the truth when he told Huffington Post last week that the opinion side of the Times applies the “same standards for fairness and accuracy.”

    Indeed, the basic errors in Stephens’ piece are so basic it is stunning that the New York Times published them — especially in the Trump era, where the paper advertises itself as a defender of truth.

    In his entire piece, Stephens has only one sentence where he presents specific scientific claims — and he gets them all wrong:

    Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities.

    This probably sets the record for most errors in a single sentence ever published in the New York Times.
    Fact: “Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the” IPCC knows no such things.
    Fact: As you can see from the link which Stephens provided, the report clearly states that the 0.85°C warming is global […]
    Fact: The 0.85°C is not “modest.” It is roughly the same as the entire variation the Earth experienced during the several thousand years of stable climate that enabled the development of modern civilization, global agriculture, […]

    Moreover, the rate of warming since 1880 is 50 times greater than the rate of cooling in the previous 5000 years — and it is the rate of change that humans and other species have to deal with. […]

    Fact: “The human influence on that warming” is equally disputable in the sense that the IPCC always presents its statements about the degree of human influence on that warming in probabilistic terms.

    These last two facts are not a quibble. It goes to the very heart of the Stephens misunderstanding of science. He wants you to think that there is some sharp delineation in science between our certainty of what happened in the past and our uncertainty of what will happen in the future.

    Indeed, the basic smear of Stephens’ piece, which is titled “Climate of Complete Certainty,” is that “Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong.”

    The thing is, while Stephens creates the impression that those advocating climate action routinely claim “total certainty about the science” he literally provides not one single instance of anyone doing that. Not one. It’s the classic straw man fallacy. […]

    The basic argument of Stephens’ piece is an intellectually dishonest comparison between polling, which is not scientifically rigorous, with climatology, which is. It is truly stunning that the NY Times editorial page editors let Stephens make such an argument in his very first piece.

    Stephens argues that because the Clinton campaign was overconfident about its voter polling, we can’t trust basic climate physics. It’s like your doctor diagnoses your persistent cough as early-stage emphysema caused by your 2-pack-a-day cigarette habit, says the overwhelming consensus of medical science is that you should quit smoking so it won’t get worse — and your reply is, “but, doc, everybody thought Hillary Clinton was going to win.” […]

    Had the paper subjected Stephens’ piece to the “same standards for fairness and accuracy” as its news stories — as they promised — there would be very little left of it. […]

    Think Progress link

  19. says

    I smell a rat.

    We still have no explanation for why McCord stepping down, and now the one guy Obama tried to remove from the order of succession, and that Trump put back in, will be in charge of the Trump Russia investigation.

    He was part of the prosecutorial team that got a guilty plea out of two hackers who went after Brennan and other government officials.

    I’m not sure if the North Carolina case is relevant or not but this whole situation reeks of a fix.

  20. says

    Nerd @28, I really liked that segment, especially the pledge, “If they go low, we bury them.” It’s a shame the producers of the show only posted a portion of that segment.

    erik @29, that situation doesn’t smell right.

    In other news, insurance companies, and their lobbyists, see how out of touch with reality Republicans are when it comes to health care:

    “They’re not interested in how health policy actually works,” said one insurance company official, who asked not to be identified discussing conversations with GOP officials. “It’s incredibly frustrating.”

    Another longtime healthcare lobbyist, who also did not want to be identified criticizing Republicans, said he’d never seen legislation developed with such disregard for expert input. “It is totally divorced from reality,” he said.

    Here’s a quote about the Republican approach to health care from Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association:

    To think you are going to revamp the entire American healthcare system without involving any of the people who actually deliver healthcare is insanity.

  21. says

    In Russia, people are risking their lives today to protest against Putin:

    Vladimir Kara-Murza, the twice poisoned Russian dissident, was on Maddow’s show telling us about the Open Russia Protest that is happening today. Here are photos of the protestors who are taking risks protesting, especially leaders. It looks like detentions are happening. More photos added at bottom. Link to more photos included. Please share. […]

    Open Russia aims to connect and unite Russian citizens who seek a state governed by the rule of law, with a strong civil society, regular free and fair elections, and the promotion of democratic values.

    Khodorkovsky has described Open Russia as a “horizontal alliance,” explaining:

    “What is needed now for effective resistance is not a party with yet another ‘vertical’ structure, eager to fight for power, but a ‘horizontal’ alliance of the vast number of ‘small civic groups’ that form the underlying fabric of civil society and that solve their own concrete problems locally.” […]


  22. says

    Chuck Schumer’s description of what it’s like to try to talk to Trump:

    When I talk to him, I try to talk to him about serious issues and he just changes the subject. I told him we want to work with him where we can work with him, we want to work with him on a big infrastructure bill — America needs to rebuild its infrastructure, haven’t gotten anywhere with him.

    He listens to what I have to say on the important subject of the day and then he talks about what he wants to talk about.

  23. says

    Writing for The Daily Beast, Joy-Ann Reid discussed that fact that Trump has ” managed to turn the clock back decades in the Department of Justice and created a climate of fear in the Civil Rights Division.”

    The Jefferson Sessions Show rolled into Long Island Friday, carting familiar themes in its caravan: Terrifying Criminal Aliens! […] And there was Sessions’ and Trump’s favorite new bogeyman, the Salvadoran MS 13 gang, which he portrayed as marauding through the streets of New York City with a “mantra of kill, rape and control!”

    Sessions doubled down on his vow that, “this administration will end illegal immigration” altogether. He portrayed undocumented immigrants as an existential threat to New York and to America – despite the fact that statistically, non-citizens, including the undocumented, commit crimes at a lower rate than the native born. He didn’t explain how the aggressive deportations that are terrorizing Hispanic communities would help root out a gang few outside the Salvadoran community (and presumably, Fox News brown scare-vision) have heard of, and which theoretically, some of the undocumented immigrants Trump and Sessions are targeting could help authorities identify if they weren’t terrified to come forward for fear of being marked for deportation. […]

    Sessions’ remarks on Long Island were riddled with the kinds of falsehoods that have formed the basis of his paranoid and racially retrograde immigration philosophy for decades. He claimed that despite “30 years of declining crime… now it’s coming back up and murders are up.” In fact, violent crime in New York is at record lows, including shootings and murders being at thelowest levels since the NYPD began keeping score. And despite aberrations like Chicago in 2016, violent crime has declined sharply in the U.S. since the 1990s according to the FBI […]

    Sessions dropped the supposedly damning statistic that 42 percent of district court cases in New York City involve non-U.S. citizens. Never mind that the federal courts happen to be where immigration cases are tried – hence the high percentage of foreign-born defendants. […]

    […] if his posture on immigration has terrified communities of color nationwide, his presence has made life hell inside the DOJ, particularly in the division charged with protecting the civil rights of America’s most vulnerable populations.

    The Civil Rights Division was created by the 1957 Civil Rights Act and has a mission that reads like Sessions’ worst nightmare: “enforcing federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.” […] under Sessions, morale in the Civil Rights Division has cratered,[…] “They are doing everything they can to keep things going, but everything they do has to run through a front office mired in politics.” Specifically, the politics of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, whose antiquated views on voting rights, immigration and LGBT people he now has the power to put into practice on a national scale.

    The Civil Rights Division employs some 700 career civil servants: […]. They are “mission driven, and wicked smart,” said the former official, and they are supposed to be insulated from politics. But while some functions at Justice are self-propelled, based on enforcing existing laws, the mission of the Civil Rights Division can be greatly shaped by the political appointees, who number fewer than a dozen, but who hold immense power over their respective fiefdoms; areas like housing rights the rights of the disabled, employment litigation and voting rights.

    “It’s brutal in there,” said the ex official. “This is an administration that has made no bones about being willing to undermine really longstanding civil rights enforcement.” […]

    The entire article is well worth reading.

  24. says

    Follow-up to comment 33, and to erik @29.

    This is also from Joy Reid’s article:

    […] The Senate recently confirmed Rod Rosenstein, a former U.S. Attorney from Maryland, as deputy attorney general, and it was announced that he would oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, replacing the previous investigation supervisor Mary McCord, the respected chief of the DOJ’s national security unit who abruptly announced her departure April 20th without explanation.

    “She’s a straight shooter,” said a third source, a non-lawyer who worked at Justice under Holder and Lynch, of McCord. “Knowing her, I can’t see why she would step down. It’s very odd.” […]

    The third source said McCord’s departure comes as other career people, who can’t be turfed out because of civil service protection, are privately being “encouraged” to leave the DOJ.

    “When Trump came in they reneged on Preet [Bharara] and Sally [Yates] and fired everyone” on the political appointee side, the third source said. “Now, they’re taking it a step further and asking career folks to step down too. Even though these are straight shooter career people. They are weakening the agency.”

    Or rather, remaking it in the image of its new, old-fashioned leader, the former Senator from Alabama.

  25. says

    Some of the signs at the People’s Climate March seemed to combine themes from last weeks March for Science with today’s march: “Policy without science is like Cheetos without benzenesulphonic acid.”

    Others stuck more closely to the climate change issue: “I am a Marshall Islander. Where will I go?”

    A young boy carried a sign documenting Trump’s increasingly orange face over time: “Visual proof of the Greenhouse Effect.”

    A young girl carried a sign showing Mar-a-Lago under water: “Mar-a-Lago in 2100.”

    Another combination of science and climate issues: “Fossil Fuels are sooo 66,000,000 years ago!”

    “Greenland & Antarctica are melting while idiots quibble about money. In a few years, our kids will need a f—ing boat to protest here.”

    “Paris agreement, the art of the deal.”

  26. says

    Tonight, Samantha Bee is hosting “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”

    You can watch on TBS at 10:00 p.m. The show will also stream an uncensored version on Twitter at 11:00 p.m. Check the @FullFrontalSamB handle. Full Frontal correspondents will host a one-hour red-carpet special before the show (at 9:00 p.m.).

  27. says

    Doggerel from the climate march:

    There once was a guy named Pruitt
    Who said to the climate “Oh, screw it”
    The people said NO!
    We will not give up SNOW
    The science is real and you knew it!

  28. says

    Trump marked his 100th day in office with some tweets:

    Mainstream (FAKE) media refuses to state our long list of achievements, including 28 legislative signings, strong borders & great optimism!

    .@LouDobbs just stated that “President Trump’s successes are unmatched in recent presidential history” Thank you Lou!

    So not looking forward to another 100 days of this.

  29. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just got a phone poll about the 2018 gubernatorial her in Illinois. I tried to blame the present governor (R), who refuses to consider a much needed tax increase, even taxing the retirement income I receive. Unfortunately, I punched a number that froze the system. Hope they got enough data to know that the rethug agenda of stupidly lowering taxes when you need to pay off your debts to previously negotiated retirement systems while maintaining the present social support system won’t win them my support.

  30. says

    Scroll down on this Think Progress page to watch Hasan Minhaj’s remarks at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Far more interesting than Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania.

    About that rally in Pennsylvania, Trump bragged about the size of the crowd. Of course he did. He was wrong. Of course he was.

    […] Trump said that, compared to those attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, the crowd at his Pennsylvania rally was “much larger” and consisted of “better people.” Trump also said his rally broke attendance records at the expo center. He claimed there were people standing outside waiting to get in.

    But tweets from Jonathan Tamari, D.C. correspondent for the Philly Inquirer, show some seats in the arena that were left empty. […]

  31. says

    Scroll down on this Think Progress page to watch part of Samantha Bee’s celebration to the free press and of facts. The video opens with some great music.

    Bee’s event raised over $200,000 for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    “At a later date, I will get Mexico to pay for all your drinks.”

    “You continue to fact-check the president as if he might someday get embarrassed.”

  32. says

    Josh Marshall discussed the fact that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had suggested amending the 1st Amendment in reaction to press coverage that Trump does not like.

    […] Priebus doesn’t discuss changing ‘press laws’ or ‘libel laws’. He specifically says that the White House has considered and continues to consider amending or even abolishing the 1st Amendment because of critical press coverage of President Trump.

    Sound hyperbolic? Look at the actual exchange (emphasis added) …

    KARL [ABC’s Jonathan Karl]: I want to ask you about two things the President has said on related issues. First of all, there was what he said about opening up the libel laws. Tweeting “the failing New York Times has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change the libel laws?” That would require, as I understand it, a constitutional amendment. Is he really going to pursue that? Is that something he wants to pursue?

    PRIEBUS: I think it’s something that we’ve looked at. How that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story. But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we’re sitting here on 24/7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters—

    KARL: So you think the President should be able to sue the New York Times for stories he doesn’t like?

    PRIEBUS: Here’s what I think. I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. I am so tired.

    KARL: I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. It’s about whether or not the President should have a right to sue them.

    PRIEBUS: And I already answered the question. I said this is something that is being looked at. But it’s something that as far as how it gets executed, where we go with it, that’s another issue. […]

    The changes President Trump wants are blocked by decades of decades of jurisprudence which is little contested, unlike other hot button points of constitutional law. If you want what Trump wants, you have to amend the constitution – and not the constitution in general but the 1st Amendment specifically. Amending the 1st Amendment to allow the head of state to sue people who say things he doesn’t like amounts to abolishing it. […]

    This, needless to say, should set off everyone’s alarm bells. If this isn’t really what Priebus meant, he should be given the chance to categorically disavow it. The plain meaning of the words, on the record, is that abridging or abolishing the 1st Amendment is something the Trump White House is currently considering. […]

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    VP Pence on Meet the Press showed he, like Trump, is a real liar and bullshitter.

    Based on the single page of tax reform goals released by the White House this week, many economists have predicted that implementing all of the changes could increase the deficit by trillions of dollars.

    No way is tax cuts to those who won’t immediately spend the money, like those living paycheck to paycheck, will increase consumer spending, and therefore the economy.
    Pence has drank of the non-evidenced based based Trump agenda, and is totally as ignorant as Trump. He just doesn’t sound as bombastic, which makes him more dangerous.

  34. says

    Nerd @43, I heard another pundit say today that Pence is a “calm liar” and that people don’t know what to make of that. Pence fools them.

  35. says

    Nerd @43, I heard another pundit say today that Pence is a “calm liar” and that people don’t know what to make of that. Pence fools them.

    It was Sarah Kendzior on AM Joy.

  36. says

    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has announced that she’ll be retiring at the end of her term in 2018. People are already talking about the improved odds of flipping the district, but it’s also worth noting that she’s not a Trump fan and is on the House Intelligence Committee. She showed a few signs of independence during the televised hearing, so we’ll see…

  37. says

    Update to #7 – So Mélenchon has posted his video and it’s…not good. Results of his vote within his party – not sure how that works – will be on Tuesday, so I suppose the leader will follow those. Here are a few articles about the situation:

    “Mélenchon, Hero to France’s Far-Left, Will Not Vote for Le Pen, But Won’t Endorse Macron” (don’t read the comments)

    “Fear of neofascism keeps Emmanuel Macron ahead of Marine Le Pen”

    “French voters must choose between the lesser of two evils: Macron or Le Pen”

    From the last:

    This is indeed a dilemma, but it is a choice between two evils, and the left should not hesitate to choose the lesser. First, defeat emphatically the fascist candidate by using the only means at its disposal – a Macron vote. Then start opposing President Macron by giving the left a majority in the National Assembly. The left would have a chance to make a political comeback with a neoliberal president in office, but it would be trashed for good if it let the far right come to power.

    I’m not in agreement with the “two evils” framing of the piece, but this is basically what I argued for several months prior to the US election. There’s little less far-Left (other than supporting a fascist or helping one to potentially win through complacence, selfishness, ignorance, or false equivalences) than considering an election the be all and end all of politics. You vote strategically (and always, always, always against fascists, which means that if there are two candidates in contention you vote for the fascist’s opponent), and then you continue fighting.

    Meanwhile, on the fascist Front: “Le Pen has now said that, if she wins, Dupont-Aignan will be her prime minister. Myth she’d be on left on economy now definitely destroyed.”

  38. says

    Very good article by David Remnick: “A Hundred Days of Trump.” (I won’t quote – should be read as a whole.)

    Speaking of capitalism, political writers in 2017 need to be able not only to say the word but to address the global reality if they want to have any hope of contending with the far-Right movements that are its inevitable consequence. Trying to substitute “globalism,” a term even less meaningful than “globalization,” just compounds the problem and gives fuel to racist-nationalist narratives.

  39. says

    The third source said McCord’s departure comes as other career people, who can’t be turfed out because of civil service protection, are privately being “encouraged” to leave the DOJ.

    “When Trump came in they reneged on Preet [Bharara] and Sally [Yates] and fired everyone” on the political appointee side, the third source said. “Now, they’re taking it a step further and asking career folks to step down too. Even though these are straight shooter career people. They are weakening the agency.”

    This is all very alarming. I hope talented investigative journalists are working on the story.

    I don’t think I have a firm grasp of how this all works. If Rosenstein appoints a special prosecutor – which he should recognize is urgently necessary – would that person then be in charge of the whole investigation?

  40. says

    “Turkey threatens more strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds: Erdogan says more action possible against YPG fighters in Syria, insisting US support for Kurdish group must end.”

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said Ankara was “seriously saddened” by footage showing US military vehicles operating close to the border with Syrian Kurdish fighters, threatening further military action against a group Turkey sees as “terrorists”….

    No tough talk or actions from Trump on this. No support for democratic forces, battlefield allies, and the strongest fighters against ISIS.

  41. says

    “Brand Ivanka: inside the tangled empire of the president’s closest ally.”

    Here’s the section about the manufacturing of her products:

    Recently a report emerged that clothing items were being sold in discount stores under a different brand name, Adrienne Vittadini Studio – usually a sign of a wholesaler offloading surplus stock, according to one fashion brand expert who insisted on anonymity because his firm has involvement with some Trump family business.

    New York-based G-III Apparel Group (known as Gee Three), a large wholesaler that holds the license to design and produce Ivanka Trump clothes and also supplies brands such as Calvin Klein and Cole Haan, admitted it had re-labelled the items without permission from the Ivanka Trump corporate leadership.

    On Monday an audit of a factory in China used by G-III found workers worked nearly 60 hours a week and earned little more than $62 a week. The report did not say whether the factory was working on Ivanka Trump clothing at the time of the inspection.

    An earlier report found that some of Ivanka Trump’s company’s clothes appeared to have shoddy workmanship and stated that it was not possible to trace her entire fashion supply chain in order to verify working conditions at the Asian factories that make almost all her products.

    A spokesman for the brand said the company had a policy regarding acceptable standards for product quality and working conditions, though it was not made public.

    “There aren’t sweat shops or anything like that,” he said. When asked how the brand could be sure of that, if it did not know exactly where all the garments were made, the spokesman said that was a question for G-III. G-III did not return a request for comment.

  42. says

    A reply to Trump’s ignorance and stupidity regarding the civil war (from SC’s link in comment 57):

    Slavery. The Civil War happened because of slavery in the United States. And Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, owned slaves and a plantation. And he died in 1845 — the Civil War began in 1861.

  43. says

    What Trump said:

    TRUMP: …I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they – as soon as I got elected, they stopped. They’re not – it’s not going down anymore, their currency.

    DICKERSON: But that had been true before. That had been true–


    When the CBS host asked specifically, “You were the one who got China to stop manipulating their currency?” Trump replied, “I think so.”

    Reality does not agree with Trump:

    […] As far as reality is concerned, the facts are not in dispute: China’s currency manipulation stopped in 2014. The evidence is unambiguous and unchallenged.

    In 2014, the idea that Donald Trump would be elected president of the United States was laughable, so there’s no sane way to argue that Beijing’s policies were shaped by China’s non-existent “respect” for the New York Republican. […]


  44. says

    “Guns and religion: How American conservatives grew closer to Putin’s Russia”:

    …A significant shift has been underway in recent years across the Republican right.

    On issues including gun rights, terrorism and same-sex marriage, many leading advocates on the right who grew frustrated with their country’s leftward tilt under President Barack Obama have forged ties with well-connected Russians and come to see that country’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, as a potential ally.

    The attitude adjustment among many conservative activists helps explain one of the most curious aspects of the 2016 presidential race: a softening among many conservatives of their historically hard-line views of Russia. To the alarm of some in the GOP’s national security establishment, support in the party base for then-candidate Donald Trump did not wane even after he rejected the tough tone of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who called Russia America’s No. 1 foe, and repeatedly praised Putin.

    The burgeoning alliance between Russians and U.S. conservatives was apparent in several events in late 2015, as the Republican nomination battle intensified.

    Top officials from the National Rifle Association, whose annual meeting Friday featured an address by Trump for the third time in three years, traveled to Moscow to visit a Russian gun manufacturer and meet government officials.

    About the same time in December 2015, evangelist Franklin Graham met privately with Putin for 45 minutes, securing from the Russian president an offer to help with an upcoming conference on the persecution of Christians. Graham was impressed, telling The Washington Post that Putin “answers questions very directly and doesn’t dodge them like a lot of our politicians do.”

    The growing dialogue between Russians and U.S. conservatives came at the same time experts say the Russian government stepped up efforts to cultivate and influence far-right groups in Europe and on the eve of Russia’s unprecedented intrusion into the U.S. campaign, which intelligence officials have concluded was intended to elect Trump.

    Russians and Americans involved in developing new ties say they are not part of a Kremlin effort to influence U.S. politics. “We know nothing about that,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said. Brown said activists in both countries are simply “uniting together under the values we share.”

    It is not clear what effect closer ties will have on relations between the two countries, which have gotten frostier with the opening of congressional and FBI investigations into Russia’s intrusion into the election and rising tensions over the civil war in Syria.

    But the apparent increase in contacts in recent years, as well as the participation of officials from the Russian government and the influential Russian Orthodox church, leads some analysts to conclude that the Russian government probably promoted the efforts in an attempt to expand Putin’s power.

    At the end of 2015, Butina welcomed a delegation to Moscow that included Keene, by then a member of the NRA board, as well as top NRA donors. The group also included a rising star in GOP politics, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who went on to be a campaign surrogate for Trump and has been mentioned as a contender for a high-level job at the Department of Homeland Security. Clarke did not respond to requests for comment.

    The group toured a gun manufacturing company and met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who was among the officials sanctioned by the White House following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Keene told the Daily Beast, which first reported the meeting, that the interaction with Rogozin was “non-political” and consisted of touring the headquarters of a shooting group that Rogozin chairs….

  45. says

    From SC’s comment 62 (bolding is mine):

    The growing dialogue between Russians and U.S. conservatives came at the same time experts say the Russian government stepped up efforts to cultivate and influence far-right groups in Europe and on the eve of Russia’s unprecedented intrusion into the U.S. campaign […]

    The Russian influence campaign seems to have started much earlier to me, but I concede that “growing” more recently is correct.

    Russians and Americans involved in developing new ties say they are not part of a Kremlin effort to influence U.S. politics. […]

    […] the apparent increase in contacts in recent years, as well as the participation of officials from the Russian government and the influential Russian Orthodox church, leads some analysts to conclude that the Russian government probably promoted the efforts in an attempt to expand Putin’s power.

    Oh, yes. Of course Putin is using rightwing groups in the USA as one of his weapons. And, of course, rightwing groups say they have nothing to do with the Kremlin … and then they meet with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister. Are they naive or stupid? Or are rightwing groups so narrowly focused on, say, guns or anti-gay legislation, that they can’t see the situation for what it is?

  46. says

    The state of Kentucky advertises itself as the “birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.” At least one Kentucky judge seems to working against equal rights:

    Judge W. Mitchell Nance, a family court judge in south central Kentucky, announced last week that he will never again preside over a case involving same-sex couple adopting a child.

    Acknowledging he has a personal bias against same-sex families, he disqualified himself from any such cases as a matter of judicial ethics. In an order he sent to all local lawyers, Nance declared that “as a matter of conscience,” he could think of “no circumstance” under which “the best interest of the child [would] be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual.” He also said that although he performs marriages, he would decline to perform the marriage rites for a same-sex couple. […]

    Fortunately, these cases should experience no delays in being heard. Judge John T. Alexander, the other division judge in the circuit court where Nance serves, confirmed on Friday he’d take any cases involving same-sex adoptions that automatically bypass Nance.

    Still, there’s a question of whether Nance’s sweeping recusal is, in fact, ethical. Charles Geyl, an Indiana University law school professor whose research specializes in judicial ethics, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that he may be violating his oath to uphold the law. “If he is unable to set his personal views aside and uphold the law — not just in an isolated case, but with respect to an entire class of litigant because he finds them odious — it leads me to wonder whether he is able to honor his oath,” Geyl said. […]

    Judge Nance’s term does not expire until January 1, 2023. [sigh]

  47. says

    Follow-up to comment 61.

    More on just how wrong Trump was when he said:

    I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, “There’s no reason for this.”

    Not only did Jackson die 16 years before the Civil War started, he was all for sending troops in to push his agendas. He was a war and/or conflict monger.

    It’s unclear why Trump believes Jackson would have prevented the Civil War if he had been “a little later.” After all, “Old Hickory” famously threatened to send federal troops into South Carolina after the state claimed it had the right to nullify a federal tariff. […]

    “It was during the Revolution that Jackson first confronted and defied an arrogant elite,” said Trump during remarks at the house. “Does that sound familiar to you? No wonder why they keep talking about Trump and Jackson, Jackson and Trump.”

    It’s a less flattering comparison than Trump seems to believe. Jackson, in addition to being pro-slavery and a slave owner himself, was an unrepentant genocidaire. His forced relocation of American Indians, known as the “Trail of Tears,” killed thousands of people.

    It is perhaps no coincidence that Andrew Jackson is a favorite of the white nationalists who have flocked to Trump’s standard. Top White House adviser Steve Bannon, former proprietor of the far-right news outlet Breitbart Media, is reportedly the man who inspired Trump’s fascination with Jackson’s legacy.

    Think Progress link

  48. says

    I mean, the very fact he chose to recuse himself instead of continuing to take the cases and consistently destroying the parents hope is at least minorly laudable.

    My reading of it was “I’m just a bigot who can’t deal with this in a rational legal mind, someone else do it ’cause I can’t”. It’s honest, if shirking of his duties, but honest.

  49. says

    What the hell is going on with Zombie Trumpcare? Now they’re claiming they think they’ll have the votes to bring it to a vote in the House this week. Most people have no idea what’s in it. No CBO score. No debate. It has the approval of the Freedom Caucus, and so would likely be even less popular with the public than the first version was at 17%. The public wants the ACA to be improved, not wrecked, and of course if this ever passed people would quickly know they’ve been lied to. The major healthcare organizations and the AARP are still opposed. So these cretins are going to rush to bring it up for a vote this week? Epic assholery.

  50. says

    I mean, why should people have to do endless rounds of phone calls to their representatives every time this travesty rears its ugly head? The public does not want your fucking bill. Stop trying to pass it. Just kill it already.

  51. says

    SC @68, that reminds me of Rachel Maddow’s segment in which she pointed out that questions about Mike Flynn freeze Trump in his tracks [beat] and then he walks away. He really can’t take the heat (nor the responsibility for his actions and his words). Maddow link. The video is 17 minutes long, and it includes other subjects.

    In other news, Why did Trump invite a murderous autocrat to the White House? Follow the money.

    Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has launched a brutal war on his own people that has left around 7,000 people dead.

    Purportedly a “war on drugs,” an Amnesty International investigation revealed “the police have systematically targeted mostly poor and defenseless people across the country while planting ‘evidence,’ recruiting paid killers, stealing from the people they kill and fabricating official incident reports.” […]

    Trump responded to this vicious campaign by praising Duterte’s efforts and inviting him to the White House. […]

    How did a murderous tyrant score praise from Trump and an invite to White House? Let’s follow the money.

    The Trump Organization, which Trump still fully owns, licenses its name on a new “a $150 million tower in Manila’s financial district.” These kind of branding deals, which very little capital or day-to-day work, are among Trump’s most lucrative. […]

    Ivanka Trump, who now has an official role in the White House, was prominently featured in the marketing for Trump Tower in the Philippines. An article about her involvement, which has been taken offline, said that Ivanka “has played a key role in the brand’s much publicised Trump Tower Century City project, driving the development’s position as a bold luxury statement for Asia and creating what will soon be an iconic landmark on the city’s skyline.” […]

  52. says

    SC @72, too right. Here’s the lie Trump told:

    Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I just watched another network than yours, and they were saying, “Pre-existing is not covered.” Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, “Has to be.”

    How long will it be before Trump realizes that Republicans in the House are, to a certain extent, ignoring his demands.

  53. says

    National Security Adviso, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster tried to clean up Trump’s mess when it came to the THAAD system in South Korea:

    In a 35-minute phone call Sunday morning, Gen. McMaster told Kim Kwan-jin, South Korea’s national-security adviser, that the U.S. would finance Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad, as agreed to by the two countries last year, according to a statement from South Korea’s presidential Blue House.

    During the phone call, Gen. McMaster also praised the U.S. alliance with South Korea as “the most solid alliance” and as Washington’s priority in the region, saying that “the U.S. will be with the Republic of Korea 100%,” using the formal name for South Korea.

    The quoted text is from the Wall Street Journal.

    As a reminder, here’s what the Orange Doofus said:

    On the THAAD system, it’s about a billion dollars. I said, “Why are we paying? Why are we paying a billion dollars? We’re protecting. Why are we paying a billion dollars?” So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid.

  54. says

    Trump had a “contract with voters” in which he made a lot of promises about his first 100 days. Just before the 100 days was up, trump said that the 100-day metric is “ridiculous.”

    Now the Trump campaign is spending $1.5 million on a TV ad that tries to convince us that Trump’s first 100 days were successful. This ad buy is the first of the 2020 presidential campaign.

    Washington Post link to the ad, and to discussion of the ad.

    […] There is no mention in the ad of the botched attempts to implement a travel ban or pass legislation overhauling the Affordable Care Act.

    The ad also takes aim at the media, branding it FAKE NEWS, and claiming that viewers wouldn’t be aware of Trump’s accomplishments by watching the news.

    “America is winning again, and President Trump is making America great again,” the 30-second ad concludes.

    Trump’s campaign said the ad will air on television in “major markets” throughout the country and target specific voting groups online. […]

  55. says

    Follow-up to SC @53.

    Yes, Gorka is out. He was unable to get a security clearance:

    […] Gorka failed to get National Security Council clearance after he was charged with carrying a gun at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last year. The case was dismissed in February after he was ordered the forfeit the weapon and remain on “good behavior” for six months.

    Gorka held only a temporary, low-level security clearance for material classified at the “secret” level, a senior U.S. official told NBC News, again on condition of anonymity.

    This is the easiest clearance there is to obtain and is issued as a temporary measure pending background and security clearance checks — which Gorka had not passed, the official said. This has prevented Gorka from participating in most counterterrorism meetings across the U.S. government and any briefings that go beyond that classification level. […]

    NBC News link

    From the NY Times:

    Mr. Gorka, a former editor at Breitbart News, a right-wing website, is a friend of Stephen K. Bannon, the onetime Breitbart chairman who is now Mr. Trump’s chief strategist. Mr. Gorka memorably declared that “the alpha males are back” as an assertion of the distance between the Obama administration and the current one.

    He has been accused of having links to far-right groups in Europe, and critics of his hard-line views on Islam have accused him of Islamophobia.

    It is actually unclear at this time if Gorka will be given a different role in the Trump administration so that he can continue to run with the “alpha male” pack.

  56. says

    Oh, yes. Of course Putin is using rightwing groups in the USA as one of his weapons. And, of course, rightwing groups say they have nothing to do with the Kremlin … and then they meet with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister. Are they naive or stupid? Or are rightwing groups so narrowly focused on, say, guns or anti-gay legislation, that they can’t see the situation for what it is?

    I think some of it is naïveté, in many cases willful naïveté. I’ve also mentioned the book This Vast Southern Empire on one or another threads here. I believe, with great horror, that something similar is going on here. They identify themselves primarily with the cause of white Christian supremacy, patriarchy, and authoritarianism, and so to them Putin’s regime is a greater ally than the US government when it’s not protecting that identity and set of interests. The same thing is happening across Europe.

    The one bright spot is that they’ve now made it entirely clear that their profession of patriotism and respect for democracy and the constitution has been a sham, since they’re willing to at best passively countenance and at worst actively collaborate with an adversarial regime working to undermine the position and the democratic institutions of the US if they think it will advance their interests. That won’t be forgotten, and no amount of flag-waving or bomb-cheering will cover it up. Also their transnational authoritarianism as it comes into the open can increasingly be met with transnational democratic and social justice movements.

  57. says

    Trump described a $41 million item in the new budget as “almost nothing”:

    That costs almost nothing, because it’s hundreds of acres, and security, and they don’t have to close up streets.

    Trump was referencing his visits to Mar-a-Lago and to his golf courses.

    However, the people providing that security had to ask for more money:

    Sec. 544. A new provision is included providing an extra $41,000,000 to reinforce extraordinary law enforcement personnel costs for protection activities directly and demonstrably associated with a residence of the President that is designated for protection. Although the federal government does not otherwise reimburse costs of state or local law enforcement for activities in support of the United States Secret Service protection mission, these funds are being provided in recognition of the extraordinary costs borne by a small number of jurisdictions in which a residence of the president is located.

  58. says

    Swamp denizen update: Trump appointed an anti-contraception woman to be the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Population Affairs. That’s a department within HHS that oversees Title X. The Title X program spends about $300 million per year to support family planning services, including contraception.

    Teresa Manning is a law professor, and a former employee of anti-abortion groups.

    […] In a 2003 radio interview, Manning noted that pro-choice advocates “promote contraception and birth control as a way to reduce the incidence of abortion. There really is no evidence to support that. In fact, the incidence of contraception use and the incidence of abortion go up hand in hand.

    She also said that pro-choice advocates view abortion as a backup form of contraception for when birth control fails (oral contraception is effective over 99 percent of the time when taken properly): “Of course, contraception doesn’t work. Its efficacy is very low especially when you consider over years,” she said. Manning continued: “The prospect that contraception would always prevent the conception of a child is preposterous.” […]

    “I always shake my head. You know, family planning is what occurs between a husband and a wife and God,” Manning said during a 2003 panel about a book she edited. “And it doesn’t really involve the federal government, much less the United Nations, where we hear about family planning all the time. What are they doing in that business?” […]

    Mother Jones link

    Manning sounds like one of the best people for the job. /sarcasm

  59. says

    Follow-up to comments 59, 65, and 67.

    David Blight, a Yale University historian, responds to Trump’s comments about Andrew Jackson:

    […] So he really said this about Jackson and the Civil War? All I can say to you is that from day one I have believed that Donald Trump’s greatest threat to our society and to our democracy is not necessarily his authoritarianism, but his essential ignorance—of history, of policy, of political process, of the Constitution.

    Saying that if Jackson had been around we might not have had the Civil War is like saying that one strong, aggressive leader can shape, prevent, move history however he wishes. This is simply 5th grade understanding of history or worse. And this comes from the President of the United States!

    Under normal circumstances if a real estate tycoon weighed in on the nature of American history from such ignorance and twisted understanding we would simply ignore or laugh at him. But since this man lives in the historic White House and wields the constitutional powers of the presidency and the commander in chief we have to pay attention.

    Trump’s “learning” of American history must have stopped even before the 5th grade. I wish I could say this is funny and not deeply disturbing. My profession should petition the President to take a one or two month leave of absence, VP Pence steps in for that interim, and Trump goes on a retreat in one of his resorts for forced re-education. It could be a new tradition called the presidential education leave. Or perhaps in New Deal tradition, an “ignorance relief” period. This alone might gain the United States again some confidence and respect around the world.

    […] God help us.


  60. says

    “First on CNN: Trump administration ending Michelle Obama’s girls education program”:

    The Trump administration is discontinuing a signature girls education initiative championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, according to officials.

    The “Let Girls Learn” program, which she awnd President Barack Obama started in 2015 to facilitate educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries, will cease operation immediately, according to an internal document obtained by CNN.

    While aspects of the initiative’s programming will continue, employees have been told to stop using the “Let Girls Learn” name and were told that, as a program unto itself, “Let Girls Learn” was ending.

    “Moving forward, we will not continue to use the ‘Let Girls Learn’ brand or maintain a stand-alone program,” read an email sent to Peace Corps employees this week by the agency’s acting director Sheila Crowley.

    News of the program’s end came the same day President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, was visiting an elementary school in suburban Virginia to announce changes to another initiative spotlighted by the former first lady, healthy school lunches.

    Perdue was set to unveil a rule change “providing regulatory flexibility for the National School Lunch Program” during a visit to Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg. Like “Let Girls Learn,” improving the nutritional quality of school meals was a major focus of Obama’s during her tenure as first lady.

    ” ‘Let Girls Learn’ had several years of funding already baked,” [Tina Tchen] said. “We were hopeful that given that, it could continue. But obviously elections have consequences, and nobody knows that better than we.”…

  61. says

    Steve Bannon’s play about the 1992 Los Angeles riots was acted out by a bunch of Hollywood actors. This is both awful and funny, and holy-cheetos batcrap insane.

    There are stage directions for black actors to grab their crotches repeatedly. There are also “[N-words] feeding on each other.”

    Scroll down for the video on a Salon page, or view it on Facebook.

    There’s also faux Shakespearean dialogue to explain that [N-words] receive goodies for which they have not worked: “[…] look on and you’ll see that the benefits which you receive proceed–from them to you, in no way from your sorry black asses.”

    The video is about 19 minutes long.

  62. says

    Oh, FFS. Really, team Trump?

    The Mauricio Macri administration reverted a decision to award former US president Jimmy Carter the Order of the Liberator General San Martín — the maximum distinction that the country can give to a foreign personality —, under the pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, CNN web site reported this week.

    The official tribute, which had already been approved by the foreign ministry and was published in the Official Gazette, was cancelled after receiving a specific request by the US government, which would have suggested it would be better to delay it. Carter was to be given the award for his work in promoting human rights during Argentina’s last military dictatorship.

    After being informed about the decision, the foreign ministry had again requested that President Macri give the award in spite of the rejection by Trump’s government since it had been made official, according to an anonymous foreign ministry official consulted by CNN’s David Cox.

    While another former Argentine official attributed the delay of the award to Carter as based on a problem due to the President’s tight schedule, since his trip to Washington DC would be very short, lasting only two days from April 26 to April 27.

  63. says

    Regarding the THAAD system in South Korea perhaps someone should explain to Donald Trump that the people the system would supposedly protect includes the 35 thousand some US military personnel in South Korea, along with their dependants. (I say supposedly because I’m not convinced of the actual effectiveness of such anti-ballistic missile systems.)

    The NRA and other gun types have been hoping Trump being in power would lead to a loosening of restrictions on the import of Russian firearms. After the Russian intervention in Ukraine the Obama Administration banned imports of products from Kalashnikov Concern as part of sanctions against Russia. This included semiautomatic civilian versions of the AK assault rifle and shotguns marked under the Saiga brand.

  64. says

    The NRA and other gun types have been hoping Trump being in power would lead to a loosening of restrictions on the import of Russian firearms. After the Russian intervention in Ukraine the Obama Administration banned imports of products from Kalashnikov Concern as part of sanctions against Russia. This included semiautomatic civilian versions of the AK assault rifle and shotguns marked under the Saiga brand.

    That’s mentioned in the article. There’s a lot more to this than that, though.

  65. says

    timgueguen @88. Interesting. I had more or less skimmed past the AK assault rifle sourcing issue.

    About that guy Brian Brown that made a brief appearance in SC’s comment 62, here is more background information:

    Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, has visited Moscow four times in four years, including a 2013 trip during which he testified before the Duma as Russia adopted a series of anti-gay laws.

    “What I realized was that there was a great change happening in the former Soviet Union,” he said. “There was a real push to re-instill Christian values in the public square.”

    The quoted text is from the Washington Post.

  66. says

    Republican Congress critter and obnoxious white guy, Mo Brooks said some more offensive stuff today about the GOP’s “American Health Care Act.” After he said offensive stuff, Brooks tried to walk it back. Bolding is mine.

    [Brooks said] My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, you know, they are doing the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.

    Now in fairness, a lot of these people with pre-existing conditions, they have those conditions through no fault of their own, and I think our society under those circumstances needs to help. The challenge though is that it’s a tough balancing act between the higher cost of these mandates which denies people coverage because they can’t afford the health insurance policies anymore on the one and and having enough coverage to help those people who are truly in need, and it’s a very complicated question, and I’m sure over the years there will be different permutations of it, both in the past as we go forward.

    Sounds like Brooks is going to sit in moral judgement over your illness, and over how much you should pay for insurance.

  67. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 68.

    An excerpt from Sean Spicer’s press briefing today:

    “The president said, ‘I don’t stand by anything.’ How is the American public supposed to digest that, supposed to trust what the president says when he himself says, of his own comments, I don’t by anything,” a pool reporter asked Spicer.

    “I think the point is, he clearly stands by that,” Spicer said. “That’s something that’s made very clear if you look at the entire back and forth exchange.”

    In fact, the exchange is a few minutes of confused verbal sparring in which Trump word-for-word says “I don’t stand by anything.” It began when Dickerson asked about Trump’s relationship with President Obama, which Trump took as an opportunity to bring up — albeit in the form of veiled insinuations — his unproven allegation that Obama wiretapped him.

    “Do you stand by that claim about him?” Dickerson asked.

    “I don’t stand by anything,” Trump replied. “I just — you can take it the way you want. I think our side’s been proven very strongly. And everybody’s talking about it,” Trump continued.

    He refused to clarify what he meant by “you can take it the way you want,” and repeated it several times before abruptly ending the interview. […]


  68. says

    Follow-up to comment 92.

    Shorter Sean Spicer: Trump didn’t say what he said.

    In other news, a judge in Wisconsin struck down a law, (Unborn Child Protection Act, 1997), that criminalizes pregnant women with a history of drug use. The law labeled the women “child abusers” and also let courts appoint guardians and lawyers to represent fetuses.

    […] Public health groups opposed the law at the time, arguing it would scare women away from prenatal care. “A criminal justice approach to maternal and child health is not the best alternative,” said Milwaukee’s Health Department at the time. “Readily available drug and alcohol treatment for expectant mothers would be preferable to threatening mothers with incarceration and loss of rights.” […]

    on Friday, a Wisconsin federal court ruled that the law is too vague and thus unconstitutional […]

    The law “purported to protect ‘unborn children,'” says Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, […] “but in fact subverted maternal and child health and deprived adult women who became pregnant of fundamental constitutional rights.”


  69. says

    SC @93: perhaps their brains do not work well enough to do their own work so they have to steal and/or take credit for the work of others?

    A plague of plagiarists.

  70. says

    [Brooks said] My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, you know, they are doing the things to keep their bodies healthy.

    And he says this the same day they gut Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch program, which they took aim at right from the beginning. It’s all about funneling more money to corporations while controlling poor people, blaming them for their problems, and making their lives as miserable as possible. Hateful.

  71. says

    From Josh Marshall’s piece about Trump and Andrew Jackson:

    I mention all this to note that the issues raised by the Nullification Crisis were not wholly alien to ones that roil American politics today: particularly, whether groups that lose out in democratic politics need to or get special rights to protect themselves against democratic majorities. I would argue this basic question is again at the center of our politics – majorities versus groups who want protections from democracy, whether this is aggressive gerrymandering, voter suppression or the voices we now here [sic] so frequently that it’s just not fair that California, for instance, has so many people.

    Also, the “religious liberty” phenomenon.

  72. says

    Politico on Trump’s spate of interviews:

    …”It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president.”

    The interviews — published by Bloomberg, Face the Nation and the SiriusXM radio network — seemed timed to the president’s 100-day mark but contained a dizzying amount of news, even for a president who often makes news in stream-of-consciousness comments. Trump’s advisers have at times tried to curb his media appearances, worried he will step on his message. “They were not helpful to us,” one senior administration official said. “There was no point to do all of them.”

    White House officials said privately there was no broader strategy behind the interviews. GOP strategists and Capitol Hill aides were puzzled by it all. “I have no idea what they view as a successful media hit,” said one senior GOP consultant with close ties to the administration. “He just seemed to go crazy today,” a senior GOP aide said….

    (See #49 above for more on 25th-Amendment possibilities.)

  73. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    The twit-in-chief is tweeting again. This time he’s calling for a government shutdown:

    The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We … either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!

  74. says

    This is a follow-up to SC’s 96, and 93 and my comment 80.

    Trump is not only filling government departments and agencies with swamp denizens, he is filling them with people who are obviously incompetent.

    Rachel Maddow covered the issue of people “failing up,” and proving they were incompetent before he hired them. Maddow pointed out that loading the decks with incompetent people puts his administration at a disadvantage for performing government functions. (Understatement.)

    The video is 15:27 minutes long.

  75. says

    What a Maroon @107, Trump is not taking into account that a lot of Republicans are also voting against some of his plans. That’s true in both the House and the Senate.

    In other news, (and as a follow-up to comments 57, 59, 65, 67, 82 and 101), Trump is trying to provide cover for his stupid comments about Andrew Jackson:

    President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!

    SC referenced this tweet earlier.

    Trump cannot admit he made a mistake … ever. Trump’s main impetus for this whole farce related to Andrew Jackson is that Steve Bannon convinced him that, as American presidents go, Trump is most like Jackson. So, of course this makes Jackson prescient about the Civil War, kind (“big heart”) and, of course, a tough guy. Great negotiator no doubt.

    Also, Trump knows history better than anyone. Right?

    […] in the real world, Jackson proposed, fought for, and signed the Indian Removal Act. […] A little thing that modern types tend to refer to as “ethnic cleansing.” Nearly 50,000 Native Americans from “civilized tribes” were stripped of the land they’d farmed and tended peacefully for generations, and send on a death march to a place none of them had ever seen.

    Why did Jackson do it? To support “white settlement and slavery.” That’s a far better preview of how Andrew Jackson would have addressed the issues behind the Civil War than anything to do with a tariff in South Carolina.


  76. says

    Jimmy Carter trolled Trump on Twitter:

    Jimmy Carter’s first 100 days..

    Laws passed: 22
    Executive orders: 16
    Approval rating: 63 percent

    The Carter account is @CarterLibrary

  77. says

    An update on how team Trump may be able to make Trump’s statement that “ObamaCare is dead” come true:

    […] President Trump has only exacerbated anxiety that he would seek to sabotage the health insurance market in the name of political hard ball.

    We’re back to where we were a month ago, with the deadline for insurers to submit their plans fast approaching, but no clear timeline on how long the payments to insurers will continue. Whether insurers can count on receiving the billions in subsidies that benefit seven million people may make or break the individual market this year. […]

    Trump over the weekend complained that the payments were just a “bail out,” in tweets that were unlikely to quell insurers’ calls for a clearer signal about their future.

    You can’t compare anything to ObamaCare because ObamaCare is dead. Dems want billions to go to Insurance Companies to bail out donors….New healthcare plan is on its way. Will have much lower premiums & deductibles while at the same time taking care of pre-existing conditions!

    […] The payments subsidize insurers for keeping out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles and co-pays, low for for consumers making 100-250 percent of the federal poverty line, as mandated by the ACA. They were being paid by the Obama administration via the Treasury Department without controversy until 2014, when House Republicans sued Obama’s HHS in a legal challenge that alleged the payments were illegal since Congress didn’t explicitly appropriate them.

    Many legal observers considered the case a longshot, though a federal judge sided with the Republicans in a decision against the payments last year. She allowed the subsidies to continue while the case is appealed. Questions about the subsidies’ future existence loomed larger after Trump took office, and his Justice Department has refused to say whether they’d continue defending the payments in the suit. The Republicans were able to pause the proceedings through May, when both parties will have to update their next moves.

    Insurers, along with providers, business groups, and other groups, have made clear that this current state-of-play isn’t good enough for them.

    “Clarity and commitment to this funding is needed to eliminate confusion and anxiety for consumers, and to allow health plans to make timely and appropriate decisions about market participation in 2018,” a statement released by America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Hospital Association, the Chamber of Commerce and other industry and business groups said […]

    The deadline for insurers to file their plans for next year is just a few weeks away, so any additional assurance about the payments they could get would likely need to come outside of the Republican legislation.

  78. says

    Current list of “undecideds” on the health care vote:

    AK-1 Don Young
    CA-21 David Valadao
    CA-49 Darrell Issa
    CO-6 Mike Coffman
    FL-18 Brian Mast
    FL-25 Mario Diaz-Balart
    FL-26 Carlos Curbelo
    IL-16 Adam Kinzinger
    IN-5 Susan W. Brooks
    KS-3 Kevin Yoder
    ME-2 Bruce Poliquin
    MI-3 Justin Amash
    MI-6 Fred Upton
    MN-3 Erik Paulsen
    NJ-11 Rodney Frelinghuysen
    NY-19 John J. Faso
    NY-21 Elise Stefanik
    OH-10 Michael R. Turner
    PA-4 Scott Perry
    VA-1 Rob Wittman
    WV-1 David B. McKinley

  79. says

    Talking Points Memo link to the video of Jimmy Kimmel telling a personal story about his new baby and the baby’s health issues.

    Kimmel made the point:

    If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?</blockquote.

    Scroll down for the video, which is about 13 minutes long.

  80. says

    Some people liked the stupid comments Trump made about the Civil War. White nationalists and neo-Nazis praised the comments.

    […] Richard Spencer, the neo-Nazi operator of, wrote that Trump’s remarks were “right” because “none of the modern wars—especially, the ‘good’ ones—have advanced the White race and our shared civilization.” Spencer added that “Trump’s statement undermines the post-Christian guilt complex at the heart of contemporary American ‘conservatism,’” which he said “indicates that, despite his failings, he remains ‘uncucked’ in his heart of hearts.” […]

    Notorious white nationalist and anti-Semitic radio host David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, praised Trump on Twitter for being “right about the UnCivil War.” He added, “The South did the same thing as the USA against Britain: Independence” and that “The Yankee horrific invasion proved” that “Northern radicals were dictating” to the South. […]

    VDare, a racist anti-immigrant website named for Virginia Dare, the first white settler in America, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s Civil War remarks were “‘offensive’ only to those who actively enjoy white people being killed.” The site also tweeted, “When we had a nation, The Civil War was viewed as tragic for both sides. Now, ‘kill whitey’ is culture of modern USA.” […]


  81. says

    What a Maroon @107, some Republican legislators do not agree with Trump when he says that “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) [said], “Our voters, the people who elected Republican majorities in both Houses and elected this president, did not vote for us in order to shut down the government. They voted for us to govern, […]”

    “We were elected to govern. Yes, governing is hard. It’s hard by design. … But that’s the way our founding fathers designed our constitutional system,” he said. […]


  82. says

    Follow-up to comment 116:

    The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee says it’s a “moral obligation” not to shut down the government, but added that he didn’t doubt President Trump has the best interests of the military in mind. […]

    The Pentagon and defense hawks have long warned about the dangers to national security that government shutdowns bring by sidelining the Defense Department’s civilian workforce and lowering productivity.

    The 2013 shutdown is estimated to have cost the Pentagon at least $600 million in lost productivity.

    Active-duty troops continue working in a shutdown, but are not paid unless Congress passes an exception that allows them to receive a paycheck. […]

    “It would be better for the country if the Pentagon and the military do not shut down, because the threats to the country do not shut down,” Thornberry said. “My impression is the president is frustrated with the legislative process, especially in the other body, and I share that frustration for sure.”


  83. says

    Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, responded to Trump’s shutdown threat:

    How could a shutdown be good, with parks closed, gov’t services unavailable and people furloughed? Answer: Golf at Mar-a-lago unaffected.

    In other news, Now we know Donald Trump’s plan to sell tax cuts for the rich.

    Last week, Donald Trump proposed an enormous deficit-increasing tax cut slanted toward the interests of high-income families. That’s a tough sell at a time when public opinion has tilted sharply against cutting taxes on the rich, and when a low unemployment rate and Federal Reserve interest rate increases have eliminated the case for fiscal stimulus.

    But in a series of interviews over the past few days, Trump and his team have made it clear that they have a plan to deal with these challenges.

    Lie aggressively, lie shamelessly, and lie repeatedly. […]

  84. says

    Wonkette’s coverage of some of the Trump-related farce from the last 24 hours:

    […] “It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president.”

    Brinkley was talking about all the insane shit that’s come out of the tiny-handed president’s mouth since Sunday. There was his made-up story about how Andrew Jackson wanted to stop the Civil War, from his grave. There was the thing about how Trump would be so excited and “honored” (he said that) to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Oh, and there was that insane interview with CBS’s John Dickerson where Trump said he doesn’t “stand by anything” he says, and then he mumbled gibberish about Obama’s “surveillance” until he got scared and kicked Dickerson out of his office.

    We’re going to focus on the opening segment of the show, but all should understand that Joe and Mika came back to the subject of Trump’s possibly failing mental health constantly during the three-hour broadcast. Literally every guest they had on, they asked about Trump’s mental state. Toward the end of the show, in an interview with presidential historian Brinkley, Joe noted of Trump’s seeming decline that “the pace is quickening.” […]

    JOE: … [H]e started like “nobody’s asked this question before, why did we even have a Civil War?” My mother’s had dementia for 10 years. That sounds like something my mother might say today. She would say, “people don’t ask that question, why did we have a Civil War?” It’s beyond the realm. That’s something … that a five-year-old might ask? But that is not anything that any grown-up that I’ve ever been around in my entire life would ever let pass from their lips. […]

    MIKA: It’s disturbing […] What’s really concerning me is that there is … absolutely no one in the White House who can get him to stop talking. There’s nobody. […]

    He’s blithering right and left, and I can only imagine that his staff is sitting there with their heads in their hands. […]

    JOE: He doesn’t seem to remember what he said just five minutes ago. He doesn’t know his own positions on a healthcare bill that he’s passing. He seems confused. […]

    JOE: We’re not talking about whether Trump is a huckster or not, we’re talking about how mentally there is a marked change in this man even in the last five years.

    MIKA: Something’s up.

    JOE: Something’s up. […]

  85. says

    This is not good. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross described Trump’s life-and-death decisions to fire missiles as “entertainment”:

    … Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recalled the scene at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, when the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping was interrupted by the strike on Syria. “Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria,” Ross said. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.” As the crowd laughed, Ross added: “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.”

    Variety link

    Ross was speaking at a Milken Institute Global Conference when he made those comments yesterday. Bloomberg described the conference: “Four thousand of the wealthiest, most influential leaders in the world […] in what amounts to a peer review of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.”

  86. says

    Hillary Clinton is speaking. MSNBC is carrying it live.

    She sounds courageous, smart, well-informed, and willing to take responsibility for her failures.

  87. says

    Jared Kushner failed to disclose a lot of his business connections. In summary:

    […] So Jared Kushner is only hiding a controlling interest in a secretive real estate start-up that shuffles money around between billionaires, investment banks, and foreign interests. That shouldn’t get in the way of his establishing peace in the Middle East, or solving the opioid epidemic […]


  88. says

    A Republican solution to health insurance problems people experience if they or their loved ones have pre-existing conditions: move to a state with better health care:

    President Donald Trump and GOP leaders are asserting that their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act will protect people with pre-existing conditions—despite fact that the current bill allows states to waive the protections, giving insurers a green light to jack up the rates of those with a chronic illness or disability.

    Other rank-and-file lawmakers have been more blunt.

    “People can go to the state that they want to live in,” Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) told reporters Tuesday morning when asked if people with pre-existing conditions could be charged much more under the American Health Care Act.

    “States have all kinds of different policies and there are disparities among states for many things: driving restrictions, alcohol, whatever,” he continued. “We’re putting choices back in the hands of the states. That’s what Jeffersonian democracy provides for.” […]


  89. says

    Lynna @ #121 – Clinton was poised, personable, and articulate in that appearance. The contrast with Trump was physically painful. (So of course MSNBC has to go immediately to the authors of Shattered, which seems to be almost a requirement these days.)

  90. says

    I saw this and the first thing I thought was that it was wildly inappropriate. They just had to fix an ad to remove a picture of McMaster in uniform, and now he subjects these kids to a political rant designed to elicit reactions, putting them in an uncomfortable position for no reason.

  91. says

    From Hillary Clinton’s appearance today at the annual Women for Women luncheon in New York City:

    […] Asked by interviewer Christiane Amanpour whether she’s accepted some responsibility for failing to counter Donald Trump’s “successful message,” Clinton said: “Of course. I take absolutely personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot.”

    […] “I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off. And the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling, persuasive.”

    Clinton later added a jab at Trump’s Achille’s heel: his popular-vote tally. “I did win more than 3 million votes more than my opponent,” she said.


    Also from Clinton’s appearance in NY today:

    […] “Negotiations are critical, but they have to be part of a broader strategy, not just thrown up on a tweet some morning that, ‘Hey let’s get together and, you know, see if we can get along and maybe we can come up with some sort of a deal.’ That doesn’t work.”

    Clinton also said that she’d prefer that Trump tweet about her instead of foreign affairs.

    “I’m happy to be the diversion,” she said. “We’ve got lots of other things to worry about. He should worry less about the election — and my winning the popular vote — than doing some other things that would be important for the country.” […]


  92. tomh says

    @ #123

    How’s this for some reassurance. “GOP leadership assured those in the meeting that people with preexisting conditions would be adequately covered, according to lawmakers, because governors would do the right thing.” Do they know any Republican governors? And Paul Ryan and his deputies attempted to rebrand the party’s health care plan as providing “layers of protection” for people with preexisting conditions. What could possibly go wrong with that?

  93. says

    SC @125, I saw that too. Couldn’t watch it all. Trump has used the military as props before. He did it during the campaign, and he is still doing it. Inappropriate, and demeaning to the military.

    SC @124, I agree. It was a pleasure to see Hillary Clinton. She answered questions coherently and graciously. It was, at the same time, painful to note the contrast with Trump. Fuck. The people of the USA lost so much when she was not elected.

    MSNBC’s constant harkening back to “Shattered” is ridiculous. They are pushing a meme that is not really true (certainly not true for many Clinton supporters anyway). This stupid meme is in harmony with Trump’s claim that the Russian “fake news” about him is just an expression of how deeply shattered the Dems were when he won the election. Dear MSNBC, stop. Just stop.

  94. says

    tomh @127, same as the plan that Republicans have for explaining their tax proposal:

    Lie aggressively, lie shamelessly, and lie repeatedly.

    The problem is that the repeated lies and misleading presentations from Republicans are hard to counter. A lot of people believe them. A lot of people repeat what they say.

    I saw a cartoon in which workers were adding a “Trump Circle” to Dante’s hell. They will also have to add a Paul Ryan Circle.

  95. says

    Trump cannot admit he made a mistake … ever. Trump’s main impetus for this whole farce related to Andrew Jackson is that Steve Bannon convinced him that, as American presidents go, Trump is most like Jackson. So, of course this makes Jackson prescient about the Civil War, kind (“big heart”) and, of course, a tough guy. Great negotiator no doubt.

    Also, Trump knows history better than anyone. Right?

    If Trump really wants to better understand the complexities of the situation leading up to the Civil War, he should just ask Jeff Sessions, who’s pretty obviously an antebellum time-traveler.

  96. says

    Follow-up to comment 114.

    President Obama praised Jimmy Kimmel:

    Well said, Jimmy. That’s exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy.

    The YouTube video version of Kimmel’s comments generated about 2.2 million views so far.

  97. says

    Now they have two men on to assess whether misogyny played a role in Clinton’s campaign problems. Sigh. At least they didn’t cut away from the event.

  98. says

    Ross was speaking at a Milken Institute Global Conference when he made those comments yesterday. Bloomberg described the conference: “Four thousand of the wealthiest, most influential leaders in the world

    DeVos was there, too. If you look up the conference site and the attendee list, you’ll discover a couple things that are interesting:
    1) It’s that Milken. Now that he’s done his time for fraud, he’s a billionaire philanthropist. Sort of…
    2) The conference is not exactly pay for access… but there is a big list of important names (including several of Trump’s cabinet, some has been artists, and a whole lot of corporate goons, venture capitalists, investment bankers, etc)
    3) Tickets are tiered from a couple of thousand dollars, up to $50,000. If you sign on at the $50,000 level there are some implications that they’ll help you get a chance to meet and talk with whoever it was you were willing to pay $50,000 to meet and talk with. It’s not quite selling access – because they’re not guaranteeing it – i.e.: they might rip you off.
    4) Buzz Aldrin will also be there. So you can pay $50,000 to ask him about the moon landings.

    I’ve actually been involved (back in the early 00s) in this sort of conference (I went to a “renaissance weekend” that my company sent me to) so I got to see how it works. The premier cattle (e.g.: Aldrin) are paid a pretty good fee, about $10,000 or so – depending – to attend. So their “speaker fee” is dangled to get them to come and listen to the pitches from the lobbyists who want to meet with DeVos or Ross or Aldrin or whoever. It’s like TED except without interesting talks. I went to a couple of them and basically the panels were “let me tell you about what I do to have fun.” Seriously, one famous author talked about the boat he’d just bought and how hard it was to find parts for, then signed a few books, and left.

    Ross and DeVos and any other cabinet members that are going to those events are probably pocketing a stiff fee for being there. And Michael Milken, junk bond king, who helped stimulate the economy (AKA: crash it) in the 80s, is pocketing the leftover change.

  99. says

    Rick Tyler, Republican, offers that Clinton “hasn’t moved on.” She was asked questions specifically about it by Christiane Amanpour and responded to them. Jesus.

  100. says

    This is odd. Sean Spicer left the daily press briefing today without taking any questions.

    Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed with Trump’s push for Republicans to change Senate rules:

    […] Asked if Republicans would nix the 60-vote filibuster to allow legislation to pass by a simple majority, McConnell told reporters, “that will not happen.”

    “There is an overwhelming majority … not interested in changing the way the Senate operates” on legislation, McConnell said during a weekly press conference.

    McConnell’s comments come after Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that voters should either elect more Republicans or get rid of the 60-vote requirement needed for ending debate on legislation.

    There’s been little appetite among senators to nix the higher requirement for legislation after Republicans went “nuclear” to lower the threshold to a simple majority for Supreme Court nominees.

    “It would fundamentally change the Senate has worked for a very long time. We’re not going to do that,” McConnell said on Tuesday, asked why Republicans wouldn’t change the rules. […]


  101. says

    While in White House, Trumps remained selling points for ‘very special’ Philippines project.

    The article is from Washington Post journalists Drew Harwell and Matea Gold.

    Investors looking to buy a condo at Trump Tower in the Philippines would have found, until this week, some high-powered video testimonials on the project’s official website.

    There was Donald Trump,[…] declaring that the skyscraper bearing his name near the Philippine capital would be “something very, very special, like nobody’s seen before.” Then there was his daughter Ivanka Trump, now a senior White House adviser, lavishing praise on the project as a “milestone in Philippine real estate history.” […]

    The potential conflict [of interest] first came into focus shortly before Trump was elected, when the Philippines’ iron-fisted president, Rodrigo Duterte, named the Trump Organization’s partner on the Manila real estate venture his top trade envoy.

    The connection burst back into public view this week, after Trump stunned human rights advocates by extending a White House invitation to Duterte, known for endorsing hundreds of extrajudicial killings of drug users, following what aides described as a “very friendly” phone call. Trump aides have said the outreach to Duterte is part of a broader effort to isolate North Korea.

    I don’t see how the relationship with Duterte has much bearing on the effort to isolate North Korea. The Philippines do have a relationship with China. The North Korea excuse sounds like a desperate line that a staffer came up with after Trump screwed up.

    […] the continued presence of Trump and his daughter in marketing materials for the Manila tower reflects the extent to which they remain key selling points even as they have vowed to distance themselves from their global real estate and branding businesses. […]

    In a long-term licensing deal, the project’s development company agreed to pay royalties for use of the Trump brand. Trump reported receiving $1 million to $6 million in payments from the project between 2014 and mid-2016, according to his financial disclosures. […]

    “It does look like the way he is handling U.S. policy to the Philippines is consistent with Donald Trump’s business interests,” said Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who is an expert on government ethics. “It is inconsistent with how the U.S. has been relating to Duterte since he came to power. But it is consistent with what is important to Donald Trump.” […]

    “You’re not going to see a better-appointed building than this one” Ivanka Trump said in an eight-minute video she narrated, adding that the developer is “one of the most innovative real estate firms in Asia.”

    “Manila represented a great opportunity for our brand,” she says in the promotional reel. The video ends with a plug from Donald Trump, who says: “It’s really great working with Century Properties and the Antonio family. True professionals, they really know what they’re doing.” […]

    The videos on the site promoting the Trump project in the Philippines were removed only after the Washington Post sent an inquiry to the White House.

    Birds of a feather?

    […] Like Trump, Robbie Antonio is known for conspicuous consumption. For the walls of his $15 million Manila mansion, he paid millions of dollars to commission top artists to paint dozens of portraits of himself, according to a 2013 Vanity Fair article about the then-36-year-old multimillionaire. […]

  102. says

    Since becoming president, (and sometimes during the campaign), Trump has expressed admiration for the following leaders:

    Vladimir Putin (Russia)
    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Turkey)
    Kim Jong-un (North Korea)
    Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Egypt)
    Rodrigo Duterte (Phillipines)

    In the past, Trump also expressed admiration for Saddam Hussein.

    What Hillary Clinton said during the campaign:

    I have to say, I don’t understand Donald’s bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen who have no love for America. He praised China for the Tiananmen Square massacre; he said it showed strength. He said, “You’ve got to give Kim Jong Un credit” for taking over North Korea – something he did by murdering everyone he saw as a threat, including his own uncle, which Donald described gleefully, like he was recapping an action movie. And he said if he were grading Vladimir Putin as a leader, he’d give him an A.

    My take on this (and I’ve heard the same conclusion from others) is that Trump is envious. He wants to be like those leaders.

  103. says

    Not to be outdone, Jake Tapper interviewed Madeleine Albright – former SoS with personal knowledge of Clinton and her campaign – about Clinton’s comments, then turned to…Bill Maher, who immediately expressed his annoyance that Clinton is still around, since she “had her shot” and should just go away now. Moments later, asked if he thought Sanders – who’ll be 80 in 2021 and soundly lost the Democratic primary to Clinton in 2016 – should run in 2020. He responded that he absolutely should, that he has a genuine message and “everyone will have to get behind it.” And that was enough for me. Too bad I couldn’t shut it off before Tapper, smirking, asked him about his calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” to her face. Super well done.

  104. says

    Oh, FFS. Did anyone on team Trump learn from the negative feedback after the State Department promoted Mar-a-Lago on its official website and social media accounts?

    The Voice of America is a taxpayer-funded organization. Voice of America is promoting Ivanka Trump’s new book on its website and on its Twitter account:

    From Think Progress:

    […] VOA’s promotion of Ivanka’s book comes as concerns mount that the government-funded media outlet is on its way to becoming an international Trump propaganda outlet — a possibility that became starkly apparent when the VOA provided stenography of Press Secretary’s Sean Spicer’s evidence-free claims that Trump’s inauguration was the best attended of all time (it wasn’t) on the first full day of Trump’s presidency.

    As the New Republic reported last month, “A month after Trump was elected, Republicans in Congress changed the VOA’s governing structure, replacing its independent and bipartisan board of governors with a CEO appointed directly by the president. And in January, the Trump administration dispatched two young staffers to monitor the VOA’s operations and assist with the transition: Matthew Ciepielowski, who hails from the Koch-founded group Americans for Prosperity, and Matthew Schuck, who worked as a staff writer for the Daily Surge, a right-wing news site that traffics in ‘alternative facts.’”

    “Taken together, the moves indicate that Trump is poised to turn the government news service — which reaches a global audience of 236 million every week through its radio and TV broadcasts — into a mouthpiece for his personal brand,” the New Republic added.

  105. says

    SC @145, that’s disgusting. Tapper should be ashamed. Maher should be ashamed.

    In other news, Trump is reassuring everybody that he still plans to defund Planned Parenthood:

    President Trump insisted Tuesday that he will eventually end government payments to Planned Parenthood, despite a new budget deal that will continue the funding, saying that “at the appropriate time things will happen.”

    Asked during an interview on Fox News why the deal to fund the federal government through September continues government payments for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services, Trump vowed to follow through on the cuts eventually.

    “I said I wouldn’t fund Planned Parenthood and at the appropriate time things will happen,” Trump said in the interview, which is set to air Tuesday night. […]

    The Hill link

  106. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have yet to hear any “freedom caucus” asshole talk about health coverage, rather than just premiums, never mind the coverage.
    A wish to have the “freedom caucus” have a consciousness transplant….

  107. says

    Wonkette’s coverage of Betsy DeVos’ very, very, very good idea: she’s giving a speech at an historically black university:

    Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who would like all Americans to send their children to the school of their choice as long as it makes a buck for someone, has been invited to give the commencement speech this year at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida. Yes, really. The invitation is almost certain to make history — in 50 years, it will be recognized as a brilliantly contrarian maneuver, remembered as an astonishing public relations disaster, or quietly airbrushed out of any still-extant paper copies of the yearbook and referred to cryptically as “the 2017 event.” […]

    Yr Wonkette has been unable to determine whether the campus health clinic was immediately flooded with students and faculty members seeking treatment of pounding headaches.

    As you no doubt recall, DeVos closed out Black History Month with a bizarre February 27 press release praising historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for the awesome job they did of providing school choice during the Jim Crow era, which rather missed the point that they were founded not out of a commitment to providing “more options” for education, but because there were literally no other opportunities for most black people to get a college education. The release didn’t mention segregation at all, instead suggesting that somehow African-Americans excluded from higher education were only an untapped market segment the HBCUs wisely decided to serve:

    “They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution.” [….]

    Okay, so the very good idea actually came from someone at Bethune-Cook University. Happily, I heap blame the person or persons who invited her. But I still think DeVos should have had the good sense to refuse the invitation.

    Some reactions have been negative:

    A petition posted Monday after the announcement, calling for a reconsideration of the invitation, had by late afternoon surpassed its 4500-signature goal. Instead of calling for DeVos to be turned away altogether, the petition asked that a new commencement speaker be invited and that, in the name of “engagement and open communication,” Secretary DeVos instead be invited to some non-ceremonial event where the campus community could “welcome her to the table and have meaningful dialogue about stronger policies, the White House HBCU Initiative, and the importance and contributions of HBCUs.”

    Fortunately, the university fixed everything with a Tweet explaining they’d never meant to say DeVos and the school’s founder were exactly alike.

  108. says

    Wonkette’s coverage of Hillary Clintons appearance at the Women for Women International luncheon today was quite good. SC, you might find this a good palate cleanser after that Jake Tapper nonsense.

    […] She addressed why she “lost,” and in the process managed to throw approximately one metric lady fuckton of shade at Trump, without ever once saying his name. […]

  109. says

    From the WaPo link in comment 152:

    Apparently, Trump learned nothing from his visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    Too true. He visited the museum, and then he still made stupid comments about the Civil War.

  110. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Elizabeth Warren was on Hard Ball with Chris Matthews.
    Part 1
    Part 2
    I bought her book, This Fight is Our Fight, and about 30% through it, it is a power indictment against the entrenched kleptocrats.

  111. says

    Rachel Maddow reported last night on new developments in the Flynn story, based on new reporting from CNN:

    Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is prepared to testify before a Senate panel next week that she gave a forceful warning to the White House regarding then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn nearly three weeks before he was fired, contradicting the administration’s version of events, sources familiar with her account tell CNN.

    In a private meeting January 26, Yates told White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn was lying when he denied in public and private that he had discussed US sanctions on Russia in conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak. Flynn’s misleading comments, Yates said, made him potentially vulnerable to being compromised by Russia, according to sources familiar with her version of events. She expressed “serious concerns” to McGahn, making it clear — without making a recommendation — that Flynn could be fired.

    Yates’ testimony May 8 will be the first time the former acting attorney general will publicly speak about the White House meeting….

    But because of the classified nature of the information, she is unlikely to explain in detail what specific information prompted her to raise concerns with the White House about his alleged ties to the Russians. She is, though, expected to give her version of events when she informed the White House about her concerns that Flynn may have been “compromised” by the Russians, contradicting Spicer’s comment that Yates was simply giving officials a “heads up” about the then-national security advisor, the source said….

    Maddow also notes that Comey will testify today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is an open hearing at 10AM DC time, so an hour from now. As soon as I find out where it’ll be aired, I’ll let you know. Comey and Rogers will also testify tomorrow in a closed hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.

    Meanwhile, Trump’s tweeting again.

  112. says

    Lynna @ #150:

    Wonkette’s coverage of Hillary Clintons appearance at the Women for Women International luncheon today was quite good. SC, you might find this a good palate cleanser after that Jake Tapper nonsense.

    It was – thanks! This piece by Dave Wiegel is also helpful.

  113. says

    MSNBC and CNN are both saying they’ll be showing the Comey hearing live. I assume they’ll show it in its entirety, but since they both broke away from the Senate Intel hearing for some nonsense last month I don’t fully trust them, so I’ll find out which of the SPANs is showing it as a backup.

  114. says

    Grassley: another Republican unintentionally making the case for a select committee and an independent prosecutor. Now he’s talking about the Clinton emails, FFS, and insinuating that the FBI is on Clinton’s side.

  115. says

    I believe – and Comey isn’t acknowledging – that not only did no requirement that they seek a search warrant just before the election exist, but the guidance is that you do not seek a search warrant in that situation. They could easily have waited two fucking weeks. It was not just a matter of “speak or conceal.”

  116. says

    Gah. Comey is claiming that the integrity of the institution requires that he didn’t consider whether the October 28th announcement might help elect Trump. On the contrary, the purpose of the rules he was supposed to abide by is precisely that, recognizing that such actions would likely affect election results, you don’t engage in them during that crucial period. You don’t seek warrants, make announcements, share information with legislators you know will be leaked,… He put himself above the rules that were designed to protect the integrity of the institution and the democratic process.

  117. says

    Comey brought up the claim that he wanted to go public with a strong statement on the Russian interference in August, but the Obama administration rejected the idea. Why is no one asking him why, then, he refused to have the FBI sign onto the public statement with the other intelligence agencies in October?

  118. says

    “Tillerson: US won’t insist nations adopt US values, rights”:

    Translating “America First” into diplomatic policy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday declared the United States would no longer condition its foreign relationships on countries adopting U.S. values like human rights. He spoke to a State Department eager for answers about changing priorities and a sweeping, impending overhaul.

    Tillerson did not provide employees any details about the 2,300 jobs he plans to eliminate or how his proposed cut of roughly a quarter of the State Department budget might affect operations. Acknowledging widespread unease about the forthcoming changes, he pledged that diplomats would emerge from the agency’s changes with “a much more satisfying, fulfilling career.”…

  119. tomh says

    @ 176
    An worst of all, it’s working. The Senate will be the last (feeble) hope.

  120. says

    This makes no difference to anything, but it seems like people are talking about the emails of interest being on “disgraced Anthony Weiner”‘s laptop, but it seemed from Comey’s testimony that the ones they allegedly thought might be new were from early in Clinton’s tenure as SoS. She started as SoS in January of 2009, and Weiner didn’t resign from congress until 2011. So it seems like he might have had the appropriate clearance at the time (setting aside the fact that Comey said ultimately only 12 emails out of about 40,000 containing classified material – of, it appears, a minor sort – were found on the laptop…). Again, it doesn’t really matter, but it’s strange that everyone’s assuming he “obviously” didn’t have the clearance to see any Clinton emails. I think this might be why Comey didn’t just go along when people suggested this, instead saying he didn’t believe Weiner had the appropriate clearance. Which, again. makes no difference, because they didn’t find anything damning about her motives and had already seen the handful of emails containing allegedly classified information.

  121. says

    Watching this healthcare debacle unfold, what Jason Kander said about Trump last week keeps popping into my head: “[Trump]’s not a great businessman. He’s a dishonest salesman. He doesn’t make deals. He makes sales. Then he cheats the buyer.”

    It seems like the whole “administration” and much of the party has now come to function in the same way. Trump, who poisons everything he touches, has certainly been a catalyst, but the descent of the Republican Party into something often indistinguishable from a flimflam operation has been years in the making.

  122. says

    So it seems like he might have had the appropriate clearance at the time

    It would depend less on whether Weiner had the clearances than upon whether the system was cleared to store classified material. There are two issues: where is the data kept and how? and who has access to it?
    Not that I think any of this matters. The FBI’s handling of the issue was shameful and the bureau deserves to be razed and plowed with salt. For lots of reasons.

  123. blf says

    Entirely on a whim, I went to Marseille yesterday for lunch (and had a great one!). En-route to the restaurant I didn’t eat at, I passed a recycling point which had two hand-drawn posters†: One was about teh le penazis, a caricature of Marine Le Pen drawn as a swastika, with several speech and thought bubbles. I think the speech bubbles were all genuine quotes from various le penazis saying incredibly nasty things, and the thought bubbles were very pointed comments about Le Pen’s and teh le penazi’s claims and such.

    The other poster, in the same style and presumably by the same artist, caricatured Emmanuel Macron as a horned goat, with a similar treatment of his quotes and claims.

    Whilst the artwork itself, especially Macron-as-a-goat, was a perhaps poorly drawn, overall both seemed quite effective. The representation of Le Pen as a swastika, with the speech bubble quotes (unfortunately undated and uncredited) reenforcing the point, seemed very effective.

      † They appeared to be photocopies, so I assume other copies were flyposted elsewhere.

  124. blf says

    US high school cancels Canada trip over fears students might not be let back in (some minor unmarked edits for formatting reasons):

    For 18 years, the school band from Kentlake high school has crossed the border to take part in the Victoria Day parade in British Columbia. The Seattle-based school board decided last week to cancel the trip in order to protect students who may be undocumented, said Chris Loftis, a district spokesperson: “You can’t go on a field trip with 100 kids and come back with 99.”


    The [school] board[? district, I assume –blf] — which ranks among the most diverse in the US, with students who hail from more than 100 countries and speak more than 135 languages — was told [by US Customs and Border Protection] that any student lacking adequate documentation of legal US residency would have a very high chance of being detained at the border […].

    The response was to cancel all international field trips, including the band trip to Victoria and a forthcoming exchange trip to Osaka, Japan. The decision was not taken lightly, said Karen DeBruler, the school board president […].


  125. says

    It would depend less on whether Weiner had the clearances than upon whether the system was cleared to store classified material.There are two issues: where is the data kept and how? and who has access to it?

    I was responding not to the status of Clinton’s blackberry, Abedin’s phone, or Weiner’s(/Abedin’s?) laptop but to the comments in the Senate discussion, which focused exclusively on the latter issue.* It was all about how obviously, of course, it was outrageous and criminal for Abedin to forward day to day emails to her husband to print out because he couldn’t possibly be cleared to see any of this information. But he was a congressman for much of the time Clinton was SoS.

    The bitter irony of Comey’s choices is that he believed that anything short of recommending the prosecution of Clinton and Abedin would satisfy the bloodlust of the Republicans and maintain his credibility in their eyes. Yesterday’s hearing showed that to be wishful thinking. They were still insinuating, even after the 11th-hour letter that swung the election, that Comey, the FBI, and the DOJ were in the tank for Clinton. Grassley even hinted that the Trump-Russia probe might itself be part of a Russian operation. They only care about destroying Democrats, and everyone involved in any investigative processes should be aware that they’re not acting in good faith. They didn’t want a fair investigation of Clinton’s server, and they don’t want a fair investigation of Trump-Russia. In fact, they’ll do just about anything to stop it, even if that means destroying their own committees, the FBI, the DOJ,…

    * Just to note once again – Comey is claiming they found 12 emails which allegedly “contained classified information” out of the 40,000 they examined. The 12 were duplicates of ones they’d already seen, and in response to questioning he seemed to admit that this classified information wasn’t anything to speak of. After his summer testimony, I’m skeptical of his claims about classified material in the first place.

  126. says

    Let’s look at another aspect of the Republican health care bill, (which should sink into oblivion under the weight of its cruelty but probably won’t): the bill undermines special education.

    From the New York Times:

    With all the sweeping changes the Republican bill would impose, little attention has been paid to its potential impact on education. School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country.

    For nearly 30 years, Medicaid has helped school systems cover costs for special education services and equipment, from physical therapists to feeding tubes. The money is also used to provide preventive care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for other Medicaid-eligible children.

    Republicans are likely to pass a bill tat gives tax cuts to the wealthy while simultaneously weakening schools for special needs children.

    A comment from Vickie Glenn, a Medicaid coordinator for a special-education program in Illinois:

    If I could have 10 minutes with President Trump, I could help him understand what we do, why it’s important. If he understood, he would protect it, because this isn’t Republicans and Democrats. It’s just kids.

  127. says

    Obamacare left employer-provided health insurance untouched, for the most part. Obamacare did add requirements for consumer protections, like, for example, banning lifetime caps (limits) on care costs.

    The Republican replacement does not leave employer-provided insurance mostly untouched. This is from the Wall Street Journal:

    Many people who obtain health insurance through their employers — about half of the country — could be at risk of losing protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses, due to a little-noticed provision of the House Republican health-care bill […]

    The provision, part of a last-minute amendment, lets states obtain waivers from certain Affordable Care Act insurance regulations. Insurers in states that obtain the waivers could be freed from a regulation mandating that they cover 10 particular types of health services, among them maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health treatment and hospitalization.

    That could also affect plans offered by large employers, health analysts said.

    Obamacare established certain foundational principles of health care insurance which no insurance plan could fail to provide. The Republican plan lets states establish their own foundation, rickety as those foundations may be. The law allows employers to follow whatever state establishes the worst standards, the most rickety foundation, if they so choose.

    “By choosing a waiver state, employers looking to lower their costs could impose lifetime limits and eliminate the out-of-pocket cost cap from their plans under the GOP legislation.” Quoted text is from the Wall Street Journal.

    Andy Slavitt said, Republicans are “creating a backdoor way to gut employer plans, too.” Slavitt headed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama administration.

  128. says

    From Steve Benen:

    […] no one should lose sight of the fact that the Republicans’ American Health Care Act has also faced no meaningful scrutiny from lawmakers themselves: there have been no public hearings, no testimony from experts, and no public debate.

    […] the legislation […] wasn’t circulated to members yesterday or published online for Americans to review. Take a moment to consider why Republican leaders in the House wouldn’t want anyone – the media, industry experts, voters, or even their own GOP colleagues – to be able to read the legislation in advance. […]

    It’s not just the process that’s cringe-worthy. This is a cartoonishly malevolent piece of legislation that deliberately redistributes resources from the bottom up, slashing Medicaid, gutting protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and delivering massive tax breaks to the wealthy. The Affordable Care Act has pushed the uninsured rate to historic lows, and the GOP’s American Health Care Act is likely to push it higher than it was before the ACA became law.

    And it’s poised to be passed in a way that will do lasting harm to U.S. policymaking.

    No matter what one might think of the competing approaches to health care policy, fair-minded observers should consider this a proper scandal. Americans aren’t supposed to govern this way. […]

  129. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    […] That’s the Iron Law: the ‘GOP moderates’ will always cave.

    I confess that after the first debacle and the sharp move of public opinion in favor of Obamacare, I thought Ryan would have a much harder time pulling this off. After all, the GOP moderates in the House didn’t get anything. The bill moved further to the right, further to gutting coverage on the second round. They caved anyway. […]

    What happens next after this bill passes the House, as we assume it will this afternoon? Then it goes to the Senate where it should face much longer odds. The GOP majority is smaller in the Senate and a substantial number of Senators have already said they can’t support this bill or really anything like it. But the Iron Law of Republican Politics should sober anyone who thinks that a bill can’t get through the Senate or that the kind of bill that can get through the Senate will be too far from anything that can pass again in the House.

    […] what can you do? Actually, a lot.

    Needless to say, if you’re in a district represented by a Republican in Congress, call them. The most obvious people to call are the ones who are still wavering or the ones who were noes until a day or so ago and turned yes. That’s the one way this could still go down in flames: if a few of those folks flip back. […]

    If your Republican Rep is voting ‘no’, it’s still their vote and their seat which makes Paul Ryan the Speaker. […] As a matter of political strategy, if you want to protect the coverage of those 24 million people, you should let them know that you plan to hold them responsible for this. The heat on them will matter a lot because they have little real incentive to try to stop the train if they think they’re off the hook because they voted “no”. […]

    If your Rep is a diehard “yes” in a safe district, you should still call. Why? First, no one is ever that safe. But the more important point is that when people in safe seats hear more than they expected, they will rightly get the sense that other people in their caucus might go down to defeat. So they may no longer be in the majority. […]

    the point is that you should call basically no matter what. The utility and impact may not be as obvious. But often, the impact is almost as great as it would be if you were calling someone who was actually wavering. Sometimes greater. The over-arching point is don’t fall for the silliness of vote count literalism. Call. It matters.

  130. says

    Well, we knew this was coming, but it is still a shock.

    Trump is really working hard to weaken the separation between church and state. He is signing an executive order that will make is easier for religious organizations to engage in political activity.

    So, those organizations get tax breaks courtesy of we the taxpayers, and they also get to push rightwing policies and candidates that increase the power of religious organizations?

    […] The White House order declares that “it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty,” according to the Washington Post.

    The administration appears to have backed away from an earlier draft order leaked to The Nation that would have allowed religious groups to refuse to hire or serve LGBT individuals.

    The order to be signed Thursday will also direct federal agencies to exempt some religious organizations from the Obamacare mandate requiring that employer health plans cover birth control, according to the Post and the Times.

    With the executive order, Trump will not be able to reverse the Johnson Amendment, which bans churches and religious organizations with tax exemptions from supporting political candidates. Instead, the order will direct the IRS to “exercise maximum enforcement discretion of the prohibition,” per the Post.

    Translation: The Johnson Amendment is still, technically, in force. But if you contravene the Johnson Amendment, its okay. No penalties.

  131. says

    The American Medical Association has weighed in again with a statement of alarm concerning the Republican health care bill:

    The United States’ largest advocacy group for doctors on Wednesday said the latest iteration of Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare would eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and result in millions of people losing their coverage.

    Andrew W. Gurman, the president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement that the bill would cause “serious harm to patients and the health care delivery system.”

    “Not only would the AHCA eliminate health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, the legislation would, in many cases, eliminate the ban against charging those with underlying medical conditions vastly more for their coverage,” Gurman said.

    He said proposed amendments to the legislation “tinker at the edges without remedying the fundamental failing of the bill – that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance as a direct result of this proposal.”

    “America should not go backward to the time when our fellow citizens with pre-existing health conditions faced high costs for limited coverage, if they were able to obtain coverage at all,” Gurman said. […]


  132. says

    Obama formally endorsed Emmanuel Macron.

    Excerpt below:

    I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run. He has stood up for liberal values, he put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world. And he is committed to a better future for the French people. He appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears.

    I’m not planning to get involved in many elections now that I don’t have to run for office again, but the French election is very important to the future of France and to the values that we care so much about.

    Video available at the link.

  133. says

    Some House Republicans are brave enough to speak out (bolding is mine):

    […] One House Republican who won’t be voting for it [the Republican health care bill] is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. In a statement posted Thursday morning, the South Florida Republican characterized the bill as having “the potential to severely harm the health and lives of people in South Florida.”

    “Despite amendments and charges, the AHCA still fails to provide for the needs of my constituents,” she adds.

    “I will not support a bill that has the potential to severely harm the health and lives of people in South Florida and therefore I remain steadfast in my commitment to vote NO on the AHCA. The recent addition of further funds to high risk pools continues to be inadequate and fails to cover those who need it most.”

    “If enacted, the older and poorer South Floridians will be worse off and will find it more difficult to obtain quality healthcare. My constituents should not have to take a step backward in their ability to obtain treatment for any illness and thus, I will vote NO.” […]

    Think Progress link

  134. says

    More news documenting Trump’s propensity to add alligators to the swamp:

    A political appointee hired by the Trump administration for a significant State Department role was accused of multiple sexual assaults as a student several years ago at The Citadel military college.

    Steven Munoz was hired by the Trump administration as assistant chief of visits, running an office of up to 10 staffers charged with the sensitive work of organizing visits of foreign heads of state to the U.S. That includes arranging meetings with the president.

    At The Citadel, five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them. In one incident, a student reported waking up with Munoz on top of him, kissing him and grabbing his genitals. In another, on a trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., a student said that Munoz jumped on him in bed and he “felt jerking and bouncing on my back.”

    An investigation by The Citadel later found that “certain assaults likely occurred.” A local prosecutor reviewed the case and declined to seek an indictment.

    Munoz’s hiring raises questions about the Trump administration’s vetting of political appointees, which has been both slow and spotty, with multiple incidents of staff being fired only weeks into their jobs, including for disloyalty to Trump. […]

    Munoz, a Miami native, worked as a political consultant in South Carolina after graduating from The Citadel in 2011. He was publicly reported to be under investigation the following year around the time he was working for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. Stories from that time, which outline some but not all of the allegations against Munoz, are easy to find via a simple Google search. […]

    Over the next year and a half, Munoz allegedly assaulted four other students. […]

    Munoz referred questions to his lawyer, the prominent Charleston defense attorney Andy Savage, who denied the allegations. “I believe that certain disgruntled cadets made exaggerated claims of wrongdoing concerning Munoz’s participation in boorish behavior that was historically tacitly approved, if not encouraged, by the Institution,” Savage said. […]

    Here is what one Citadel student told police about his encounters with Munoz in 2009 and 2010 during his freshman year: “Munoz coerced threatened and convinced me to allow inappropriate touching, grabbing, and kissing by leading me to believe it was what I needed to do to gain acceptance in the corps of cadets. He threatened to call my upperclassmen who would be upset if I did not comply with him.”

    The student told police he and Munoz would sometimes return to campus early and stay at the home of a Citadel professor, where “during the night Munoz would enter my room and continue the touching.” […]

  135. says

    This is follow-up to comment 198.

    The ACLU and other groups are preparing to sue the Trump administration over the latest executive order:

    Groups are gearing up to file lawsuits challenging the executive order President Trump signed Thursday morning to make it easier for churches and other religious groups to participate in politics without risking their tax-exempt status.

    The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) said it has a 17-page complaint ready to be filed in the federal District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The group’s attorney, Andrew Seidel. said he’s just waiting to see the exact language of the order. […]

    “This will turn every church into a political action committee,” he said. “They won’t have to file any paperwork with the IRS at all. It’ll be dark money into U.S. politics the likes of which have never been seen before.” […]

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it’s also ready to go with a lawsuit challenging the order.

    “The actions taken today are a broadside to our country’s long-standing commitment to the separation of church and state,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romera said in a statement.

    “Whether by executive order or through backroom deals, it’s clear that the Trump administration and Congressional leadership are using religion as a wedge to further divide the country and permit discrimination. We intend to file suit today.”

    The Hill link

  136. says

    From Matt Yglesias:

    The American Health Care Act, due for a vote later today in the United States House of Representatives, is a law that fundamentally does the reverse of what its proponents are promising.

    Having run a campaign during which he promised to cover everyone, protect Medicaid from cuts, and replace Affordable Care Act plans with “terrific” coverage, Donald Trump is now behind a bill that cuts Medicaid, covers fewer people, and allows states to replace ACA plans with stingier coverage.

    Having promised repeatedly to protect patients with preexisting health conditions from insurance market price discrimination, Paul Ryan is pushing a plan that removes existing protections and replaces them with hand-wavy and inadequately funded high-risk pools.

    Having leveraged public discontent with high deductibles and rising premiums, Republicans are pushing a bill that will leave most patients with higher out-of-pocket costs for equivalent plans and bring back skimpy plans with even higher deductibles.

    That’s all happening because the GOP is committed to rolling back the taxes that pay for the Affordable Care Act, delivering a financial windfall to high-income families even though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin swore at his confirmation hearings that the Trump administration would not pursue tax cuts for the rich.

    The bill is currently being rushed through the House at breathtaking speed with no time for a Congressional Budget Office score or for members to hear from constituents back home. Republicans are acting like their plan cannot survive even cursory scrutiny by experts or the public for the good reason that their own rhetoric strongly suggests that they do not believe the public would find this legislation acceptable if they knew what it did. […]

    Yes, exactly right.

    It is obvious that the GOP plan would not survive scrutiny from experts, from the public, or from the CBO. Furthermore, it would not even survive careful scrutiny from some Republicans who admit they have not had time to read the bill.

  137. says

    From Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez:

    Trump and Republicans are telling the parents of children with special needs that they’re on their own.

    They’re telling insurance companies to go ahead and use lifetime limits to decide when someone with a chronic illness has had enough health care.

    As if this attack on ordinary Americans weren’t reprehensible enough, Republicans in Congress might keep Obamacare’s best protections for themselves and their staffers, as they rip them away from their own constituents.

    It seems the only people who will truly benefit from this legislation are the uber-rich, who will pocket hundreds of billions in tax breaks. […]

  138. says

    Pelosi just told Republicans they’ll have “every provision of the bill [tattooed] on you foreheads” – “You will glow in the dark with this one.” Followed by a call-and-response with other Democrats and a round of applause.

  139. blf says

    I approve wholeheartedly, ‘Out with fascists’: egg thrown at Marine Le Pen (video): “Protesters hurled an egg at French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Thursday during a campaign stop three days before the election. About 50 people gathered, shouting ‘out with fascists’, as Le Pen arrived at a shipping company in the western town of Dol-de-Bretagne”. Unfortunately, it was only one(?) egg, and probably wasn’t rotten.

  140. says

    Matt Fuller:

    “Just gonna guess that Justin Amash is pretty upset that leadership made him vote yes. So much for owning your voting card and stuff.”

    “Also, just gonna guess that the DCCC is pretty pleased Carlos Curbelo and Darrell Issa voted for that bill.”

  141. says

    “Every Republican who voted for this abomination must be held accountable”:

    …I won’t mince words. The health-care bill that the House of Representatives passed this afternoon, in an incredibly narrow 217-to-213 vote, is not just wrong, or misguided, or problematic or foolish. It is an abomination. If there has been a piece of legislation in our lifetimes that boiled over with as much malice and indifference to human suffering, I can’t recall what it might have been. And every member of the House who voted for it must be held accountable.

    There’s certainly a process critique one can make about this bill. We might focus on the fact that Republicans are rushing to pass it without having held a single hearing on it, without a score from the Congressional Budget Office that would tell us exactly what the effects would be, and before nearly anyone has had a chance to even look at the bill’s actual text — all this despite the fact that they are remaking one-sixth of the American economy and affecting all of our lives (and despite their long and ridiculous claims that the Affordable Care Act was “rammed through” Congress, when in fact it was debated for an entire year and was the subject of dozens of hearings and endless public discussion). We might talk about how every major stakeholder group — the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the AARP, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, and on and on — all oppose the bill.

    All that matters. But the real problem is what’s in the bill itself. Here are some of the things it does:…

    It is no exaggeration to say that if it were to become law, this bill would kill significant numbers of Americans….

    Those deaths are not abstractions, and those who vote to bring them about must be held to account. This can and should be a career-defining vote for every member of the House. No one who votes for something this vicious should be allowed to forget it — ever. They should be challenged about it at every town hall meeting, at every campaign debate, in every election and every day as the letters and phone calls from angry and betrayed constituents make clear the intensity of their revulsion at what their representatives have done.

    Perhaps this bill will never become law, and its harm may be averted. But that would not mitigate the moral responsibility of those who supported it. Members of Congress vote on a lot of inconsequential bills and bills that have a small impact on limited areas of American life. But this is one of the most critical moments in recent American political history. The Republican health-care bill is an act of monstrous cruelty. It should stain those who supported it to the end of their days.

  142. says

    Trump was in hyper-bragging mode during the celebration following the Republican vote in the House on the health care bill:

    You know, coming from a different world and only being a politician for a short period of time, how am I doing? Am I doing OK? I’m President! Hey, I’m President! Can you believe it, right?

    I don’t know. I thought you needed a little bit more time, they always told me, more time. But we didn’t.

  143. says

    One example of White House spokespeople blowing smoke:

    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders defended the vote, absent a CBO score, by saying that the bill is “impossible to score.” The CBO, by contrast, says they’ll have a score on the newest version of the legislation by next week — while lawmakers are in their home districts during the congressional recess.


  144. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A DOA bill in the senate is cause for celebration by the Liar in Chief.

  145. says

    Hillary Clinton is formulating a strategy to help with the resistance to Trump’s agenda.

    […] The former secretary of state is building a new political group to fund organizations working on the resistance to President Donald Trump’s agenda, spending recent weeks in Washington, New York City, and Chappaqua, N.Y., meeting with donors and potential groups to invest in, and recruiting individuals for the group’s board of directors […]

    She is looking to launch the group, expected to be called Onward Together — a nod to her campaign slogan, Stronger Together […]

    Meanwhile, Judith McHale, who served as an undersecretary of state under Clinton, has been working with her to find groups to fund, as has former Democratic National Committee chairman, presidential candidate, and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

    Clinton has started to fill out the board, which will include longtime ally and leading party strategist Minyon Moore. […]

    The effort is starting to come together as its leader is increasingly stepping back into the public spotlight — and while her party is still searching for its path ahead. After going quiet for a stretch after the campaign, Clinton has started publicly supporting groups aligned with her main goals, and is now not hesitating to jab at Trump when asked about him. […]

    Politico link

  146. says

    Fresh off what they consider a win on health care, the House Freedom Caucus is reportedly working on a tax reform plan.

    Not looking forward to seeing what other means they concoct for screwing everyone but the wealthy.

  147. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have a dream.
    I have a dream that senators like Warren, Franken, Schumer, Durbin, et al., offer an alternative to Trump/RyanCare.
    I have a dream that the package would shore up the problems with the ACA.
    I have a dream that the package would include buying into Medicare/Medicaid when the exchanges have only two or less options.
    I have a dream that either the (alleged) healthcare companies either work to provide good insurance at competitive rates, or they go out of business if they can’t compete with an option where there is no need for profits or exorbitant executive salaries.
    I have a dream.
    *Unfortunately, I wake up*

  148. says

    From Michael Tomasky:

    […] If you have someone with mental health issues in your family, you’re going to lose. If you are old, or sick, or poor, you’re going to lose. And if you’re all three, look out. And on the main point, this alleged pre-existing conditions “fix” in the Upton amendment, it’s a joke. It waves $8 billion at $200 billion problem.

    Oh, and let’s not forget this point. The bill is also a $1 trillion transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich, and it sets the table for more future tax-cutting. […]

  149. says

    “Raise hell – big time. I want y’all to get out there and raise hell about damned near everything. My word, there’s a world out there that needs fixing. Get out there and get after it.” —Molly Ivins

    From Wonkette:

    […] Next is we keep the House’s complete abomination of a tax cut for the very wealthy, masquerading as a healthcare bill, from getting anywhere in the Senate. You call both your senators today. And tomorrow. Be a nuisance. Join a march of nuisances. Let them know, in detail, how you and the people you love will be affected if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Go to town halls. If you’re lucky enough to be in a solid blue state, help elect Democrats in red and purple ones, and let your senators and representatives know that it’s time for single-payer. […]

    But first, let’s start sifting through some of the reactions to the House’s vote today to undo Obamacare, the greatest reduction in the uninsured rate in history, all for the sake of winning a great big Fuck You to the black guy who was president. We’re just going to go almost at random here, because the internet, as is required after any catastrophe, is blowing up. From Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, something we can all agree with:

    In 20 years in public service, I have never seen the level of bald faced, intentional lying that is happing right now.

    Mr. Issa (R-sonist) won reelection to his seat by just over 2,300 votes in November. We have a feeling more people in his district stand to lose or pay a lot more for their health insurance if the Senate passes an ACA repeal, and so it’s definitely time for get rid of the California 49th District’s preexisting condition and elect a Democrat. […]

    Also, while Donald Trump is very happily crowing about how he’s kept a key campaign promise, let’s remind him and his trolls that he did nothing of the sort. […]

    Let’s all get started by electing Rob Quist in Montana on May 25, OK? […]

  150. says

    “The mystery behind a Flynn associate’s quiet work for the Trump campaign”:

    Jon Iadonisi, a friend and business associate of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, had two under-the-radar projects underway in the fall of 2016.

    One of his companies was helping Flynn with an investigative effort for an ally of the Turkish government — details of which Flynn revealed only after he was forced to step down from his White House post.

    At the same time, Iadonisi was also doing work for the Trump campaign, although his role was not publicly reported, according to people familiar with his involvement.

    The project Iadonisi was engaged in for Trump’s campaign focused on social media, according to a person with knowledge of the arrangement. What that work consisted of — and why his company was not disclosed as a vendor in campaign finance reports — remains a mystery.

    The Trump campaign did not report any payments to Iadonisi or his firms. However, Federal Election Commission reports show the Trump campaign paid $200,000 on Dec. 5 for “data management services” to Colt Ventures, a Dallas-based venture-capital firm that is an investor in VizSense, a social-media company co-founded by Iadonisi.

    Michael Glassner, executive director of the Trump campaign committee, said invoices show Colt Ventures was paid for a social-media project that involved video-content creation and “millennial engagement” in the campaign’s final month. He declined to comment on why the payment went to a venture-capital firm and whether campaign officials were aware of the firm’s connection to VizSense and Iadonisi.

    It is common for political vendors to hire subcontractors whose work is not publicly reported. However, campaign committees cannot seek to avoid disclosure by paying an entity that does not have a legitimate relationship with the ultimate recipient, said Washington campaign-finance lawyer Daniel Petalas, who served as the FEC’s acting general counsel and head of enforcement.

    “A venture-capital company is certainly a strange entity for a campaign to be making an expenditure to, and I would want to look further to assess whether it was it an appropriate recipient,” he said.

    Colt Ventures was founded by Darren Blanton, a Dallas investor who later served as an adviser to Trump’s transition. Blanton met frequently with Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon at Trump Tower during the campaign, according to people who saw him there. Colt also sent a report to Bannon about work done for the campaign, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Blanton did not respond to requests for comment. However, shortly after the The Post first contacted him, Colt Ventures updated an online list of companies that make up its investment portfolio and added VizSense.

    In a 2015 interview with the Dallas Morning News, Iadonisi said VizSense helps clients track online video performance and identify which social-media users drive the most traffic….

    Until recently, Iadonisi and Flynn’s firms shared an office suite in Alexandria, Va. Flynn’s now-closed consultancy, Flynn Intel Group, rented space from White Canvas Group, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

    And last fall, Flynn tapped White Canvas Group to help him investigate Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic cleric who lives in Pennsylvania, Justice Department documents show….

  151. says

    MSNBC, I guarantee you virtually none of your viewers are “awaiting Trump speech.” If you plan to air it, I plan to turn you off. We’ve had enough of this garbage for one day, and want some reasoned analysis from Hayes, Maddow, and O’Donnell.