Friday, June 23, 2017


The Senate health care bill is a massive con
  • It’s a huge tax cut for the rich.
  • It slashes Medicaid for the poor.
  • It allows states to cut back on essential benefits.
  • It abolishes the individual mandate.
Unlike the House bill, it keeps Obamacare’s income-based subsidies, which makes it a little more friendly to the working poor. However, it also cuts back on those subsidies. . . .
The net result is that if this bill passes, people will be free to go without insurance while they’re healthy, and then buy insurance if and when they get seriously ill. This is a disaster for the health insurance industry. . . .
Five Ways the Senate Health Care Bill Raises the Cost of Insurance

Here is how the Senate bill works . . .

What do you expect from a bill written by thirteen white guys in private?
The Senate health bill would hugely roll back women's health care

Really, it's a tax cut bill
At its core, the Senate health bill slashes Medicaid to finance a tax cut for the rich

The Republicans’ Obamacare repeal is one big lie

The initial opposition to the bill comes from the right!
4 Senate Conservatives Are Worried Trumpcare Isn’t Mean Enough

Conservatives are rage-tweeting that the Senate health care bill is "Obamacare lite"
Conservatives complain that Senate Republicans’ plan to repeal Obamacare doesn’t go far enough 

Why are Senators supporting a bill THEY KNOW is bad?

Three Republican senators will announce opposition to Trumpcare. They will be lying
It will reportedly draw public opposition from at least some holdout Republicans. At that point, the holdouts will be able to wrest relatively small concessions from McConnell. These concessions will have outsized political impact. They will be new and newsy, and reporters will be drawn from the old story — the outlines of the bill — toward the newer developments. The major coverage of the bill will likely focus on changes in the proposed law that make coverage more affordable. The overall law will still make coverage less affordable overall, but that large fact will remain in the background. Social scientists call this this “anchoring effect.” . . .

Rewriting history
McConnell blames Democrats for not contributing to health care process he entirely shut them out of
[Trump] He told the crowd that he wanted a “plan with heart,” even though a draft of the Senate bill proposed deeper funding cuts to Medicaid than the House version.  “If we had even a little Democrat support, just a little, like a couple of votes, you’d have everything. And you could give us a lot of votes and we’d even be willing to change it and move it around and try and make it even better,” Trump said. “But again, They just want to stop, they just want to obstruct. A few votes from the Democrats, seriously, a few votes from the Democrats, it could be so easy and so beautiful, and you’d have cooperation.”  

CBO estimate coming next week

Obama defends his health care bill
“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” the former president wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.” “Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family ― this bill will do you harm,” he added. “And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.” . . .

Seth Meyers on the health care bill 

Trump said 18 flat-out lies in his Iowa speech: here's a list, added to the 300 lies he has uttered so far

The complete list:

Trump's morning wake-up calls on Russia
“President Trump has a new morning ritual. Around 6:30 a.m. on many days — before all the network news shows have come on the air — he gets on the phone with a member of his outside legal team to chew over all things Russia . . . The calls — detailed by three senior White House officials — are part strategy consultation and part presidential venting session, during which Trump’s lawyers and public-relations gurus take turns reviewing the latest headlines with him. They also devise their plan for battling his avowed enemies: the special counsel leading the Russia investigation; the ‘fake news”’ media chronicling it; and, in some instances, the president’s own Justice Department overseeing the probe.” 

Why the Coats-Rogers conversations are a big problem for Trump
Trump reportedly asked top intelligence officials to say there was no Russia collusion

This goes further than what Trump asked James Comey to do. He wanted Comey to publicly acknowledge that Trump himself wasn’t under investigation, which was at least true. But he apparently asked the intelligence chiefs to say that his campaign didn’t collude with the Russians, which is precisely what’s under investigation. That’s like asking the district attorney to publicly exonerate a murder suspect while police are still collecting evidence. This may not have been an order to interfere with an ongoing investigation, but it was sure as hell inappropriate, as both Coats and Rogers obviously knew. 

Trump announced his FBI Director choice by tweet -- but hasn't actually nominated him yet. Why? 

Trump claims again complete and total vindication on Russia, says it is all "a big Dem HOAX"

No, it's not a hoax:
The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers . . .
Congress is investigating whether any private voter information allegedly stolen by Russian hackers was passed to or used by the Trump campaign . . .
Meet Felix Sater

Trump says that there aren't "tapes" of his conversations with Comey after all. But the questions abound: what about OTHER conversations with other people?

"With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."
It took him an entire 42 days for Trump to ultimately say “nevermind.”
The Lasting Damage of Trump's 'Tapes' Bluff
Now the president and his team have grudgingly acknowledged that Trump’s tweet was bogus, Greg argued, it’s effectively been confirmed that “Trump invented the existence of these tapes to chill Comey from offering a full public accounting of the events leading up to his firing.”  Agreed. Many have long been skeptical of Trump’s oblique reference to secret recording that, evidently, don’t exist. But the underlying question is still in need of answer: why exactly did the president publish this tweet in the first place? 

Trump trashes Mueller . . . and lies some more
“He’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome, but he’s also — we’re gonna have to see,” Trump said in an excerpt published Thursday evening. The President claimed that “all of the people” hired by Mueller to work on the Russia probe “are Hillary Clinton supporters.” . . .


Of course they are
An ethics watchdog group claims in a new lawsuit that White House staff are illegally hiding internal communications from public view through the use of encrypted messaging apps. . . . Those apps automatically delete past messages, which would prevent them from being archived by the government as required by law . . . 

Why does Trump keep hiring lobbyists for (authoritarian) foreign governments into his administration? 

One of Trump's tricks is to exploit photo ops at places, take credit for them, and then leave before things turn to crap
Trump visited this Boeing factory to celebrate jobs. It just announced layoffs

“Trump doesn’t really want to be president. . . .” [read on]

Monetizing the presidency 

He said it:
The notion that Trump could make money running for president (let alone being president) goes back at least 17 years, to when he was considering running for office on the Reform Party ticket. In fact, he himself was the one to suggest it: In a 2000 interview with Forbes, Trump mused that, by planning his campaign stops around a set of appearances he was contracted to make with the motivational speaker Tony Robbins, “it’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.” . . .

I find this statistic astounding
44 percent of Americans know someone shot by a gun

Remember that big investigation that was going to prove that 3 MILLION people voted illegally? Well guess what? 

More evidence for how Repubs and Dems live in different epistemic worlds. There are few "facts" they agree on

Bonus item: You have to be a golfer to fully appreciate what a truly assholish thing this is to do
Watch Out! Trump Runs Over Putting Green With Golf Cart

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Thursday, June 22, 2017


In an administration of bad decisions, was hiring Michael Flynn the worst?

Follow the money
Although Trump told NBC in May, “I am not involved in Russia,” he admitted in a 2007 deposition that a real estate development firm known as the Bayrock Group had brought Russian investors to Trump Tower to discuss investing in Moscow . . . “It’s ridiculous that I wouldn’t be investing in Russia,” Trump said. “Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment.”

Bloomberg also reported that one of the principals at Bayrock is businessman Felix Sater, who reportedly has ties to organized crime in both the United States and Russia. Although Trump has repeatedly insisted that he is only passingly acquainted with Sater, former Bayrock employees insist that Sater often met with Trump at his business empire’s New York City headquarters and guided Trump’s children around Moscow. They also report that Sater is still in contact with the president and some of his advisers. It is worth noting that the Bayrock Group itself also had an office located in Trump Tower.  

While the president likes to downplay his business ties to Russia, his son Donald Trump Jr. once admitted to a real estate conference in 2008 that Trump built a tower in Panama for wealthy Russian clients, according to a report by Time.  “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” Trump told the crowd.

Trump did ask intel chiefs to interfere in the Russia investigation

Trump doesn't understand what lawyers do

The ongoing question: Why didn't the Obama admin tell everyone sooner that Russia was interfering in the election to help Trump? 

Rep. Chris Stewart from Utah told CNN that after visiting Russia last August, he was certain they were going to "mess with our elections.". . . Stewart said, "I went to Moscow last August, and I came home and said they’re gonna mess with our elections. We just knew that they were and it wasn't just me saying that.". . ."The Russian KGB case officer who is responsible for this, he's probably been promoted from captain to four star general because this went way beyond their wildest dreams of success I think..."
Top DHS Official: Russian Cyberattacks Targeted Election Systems In 21 States
Today’s Johnson Hearing Glossed Over One of the FBI’s Most Epic Fails 

Why does Jared Kushner still have security clearance?

Corey Lewandowski auditions for a new role
Lewandowski: Investigation Into Trump Ties To Russia ‘Should End Immediately’

Fox News host Sean Hannity touted a conspiracy theory on his show Tuesday — that President Donald Trump may soon be the victim of a “soft coup.” Hannity alleged “sinister forces” are aligning to remove Trump from office. . . .

Can't make this stuff up
Two of Donald Trump’s top former aides are working together to cash in on their campaign experience — after being left out of the White House. Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie are closing in on a six-figure deal with Hatchette Book Group’s conservative division . . .

Trump said he wanted to improve relations with the Russians. That ain't happening
The Trump administration wants a better relationship with Russia. The problem is that Russia increasingly looks like it doesn’t want one — and is actively taking steps that are pushing that relationship to a new low. . . .
Russia Cancels Meeting With U.S. Over Increased Sanctions

White House Tries to Get G.O.P. to Water Down Russia Sanctions Bill

Trump vents at an Iowa rally
The rally, Mr. Trump’s first since the end of April, served as a venting session for a pent-up president who has stewed and brooded from inside the gilded cage of the White House over attacks from investigators, Democrats and the news media, his interview schedule drastically pared down and his aides imploring him to stay off Twitter. Style-heavy and substance-light, the speech went over an hour: an epic version of the fact-challenged, meandering and, even for his detractors, mesmerizing speeches he gave during his upstart presidential campaign. . . .

Ladies and gentleman, your president
At another point in the speech, Trump defended his decision to appoint wealthy businessmen to top cabinet roles, explaining that he doesn’t want “poor” people in that type of position. “These are people that are great, brilliant business minds,” Trump said. “I love all people. Rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense? Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it—but I like it better this way, right?” . . .  

The Cesspool
Trump Plans Big Cuts To Housing Aid, Minus Program That Pays Him
Trump To Host Re-Election Fundraiser At His Own Hotel In Washington D.C.

Donald Trump Is a Crook 

The centerpiece of Trump's "infrastructure" plan -- privatizing air traffic control -- already looks dead

First, let's fire all the scientists
EPA To Replace Dozens Of Scientists


Today we finally see the Senate health care bill
The Congressional Budget Office is then expected to release its official analysis of what the bill would cost and how many people it would cover on Friday or Monday . . .

Trump called the House health bill "mean" -- what will he say about the Senate one?

This is winnable, if Dems are smart
Opposition to GOP health bill is on the rise

As readers know, this is an ongoing interest of mine -- the psychologists who served and enabled the US torture program

The day after -- a calmer view of Georgia 6?
“Although it’s true Democrats have agonizingly yet to capture a red district, they have outperformed their ‘generic’ share of the vote significantly in every contest. Measured against the Cook Political Report‘s Partisan Voter Index (PVI), Democrats have outperformed the partisan lean of their districts by an average of eight points in the past five elections.”  “If Democrats were to outperform their ‘generic’ share by eight points across the board in November 2018, they would pick up 80 seats. Of course, that won’t happen because Republican incumbents will be tougher to dislodge than special election nominees. But these results fit a pattern that should still worry GOP incumbents everywhere, regardless of Trump’s national approval rating and the outcome of the healthcare debate in Congress.”
6 Takeaways From the Very Special Election in Georgia

His campaign slogan proclaimed him ‘Humble. Kind. Ready to Fight’ . . . [read on]

[NB: Uh. . . . no. That's not what's going to turn around the House.]

“We no longer have a party caucus capable of riding this wave. We have 80-year-old leaders and 90-year-old ranking members. This isn’t a party. It’s a giant assisted living center. Complete with field trips, gym, dining room and attendants.”  
            — A Democratic operative, quoted by Politico.

Former AG Eric Holder may have presidential aspirations

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media.

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***