Friday, June 30, 2017


This is what failure looks like
In particular, the decision to sign off on the never-before-attempted plan to pass two budget reconciliation bills in a single fiscal year is beginning to look like a narrow-alley dead end in a very bad neighborhood. The idea was that the Republicans could take advantage of the fact that since they never did their budget work last year they still had the opportunity to finish that up with a health care bill that only requires fifty votes to pass (with the vice-president breaking any tie). They could then use the same legislative trick to pass tax reform in this year’s budget plan at a fifty vote threshold. Without getting into all the parliamentary rigamarole that’s involved, the most significant consequence of adopting this plan was that the administration believed and acted as if they would never need a single Democratic vote for anything, ever. The first problem with the plan was two-fold. . . . [read on]

I take issue with the word "become" -- when was he ever otherwise?
Donald Trump’s myth is coming unglued: How did the supposed master dealmaker become a spectacularly incompetent president? 

Republican senators grow weary of Trump’s health care illiteracy 

How the health care bill confirms everything we've been saying about the GOP
Marc Thiessen, the George W. Bush speechwriter who now writes a column for the Washington Post op-ed page, is aghast at the Senate GOP’s health care bill. “Paying for a massive tax cut for the wealthy with cuts to health care for the most vulnerable Americans is morally reprehensible,” he says. “If Republicans want to confirm every liberal caricature of conservatism in a single piece of legislation, they could do no better than vote on the GOP bill in its current form.” . . .

[NB: Hey, it's not a caricature if it's TRUE] 

The plan was to pass a Senate bill that was within shouting distance of the House bill, then rush it through a House vote without going to conference. But if the Senate has to make big changes to get it through, will the House still rubber stamp it? 

A fascinating behind-the-scenes account that shows how absurd the GOP position on health care has become 

The Republican Health-Care Lie Is Collapsing 

Will Mitch McConnell meet his new Friday deadline?
You squeeze the balloon on one side too tight, and the other threatens to blow up. That seems to be what's happening right now for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in negotiating Trumpcare. When we last checked in (early afternoon in Washington, D.C.) they were talking about jettisoning some of the big tax cuts for rich people in order to find some stuff to buy off the moderates. Or not. . . . 


Now the health care timetable is "end of the summer" 

This is hilarious. Now they're back to the ridiculous stance of "repeal Obamacare now, and replace it later." No one believes that could work 

When is a Medicaid cut not a "cut"? 

Republicans’ health bill saves its most severe Medicaid cuts for outside the CBO’s scoring window  

For the Dems: fix Obamacare or go straight to single payer?

Trump cruelly attacks Mika Brzezinski -- we're back to "blood coming out of her whatever" territory

MSNBC responds:

Mika responds, even better:

Trump's GOP colleagues are disgusted:
[Ben Sasse] Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office.

[Bill Kristol] You are a pig. Sincerely, Bill Kristol  [read on]
CNN commentator and Republican strategist Ana Navarro on Thursday gave President Donald Trump a comprehensive dressing-down . . . ‘Listen, you crazy, lunatic 70-year-old man-baby, stop it. You are now the President of United States, the commander-in-chief, and you need to stop acting like a mean girl. Because we just won’t take it. We won’t vote with you. We won’t work with you.'
[Sen. Susan Collins‏] This has to stop . . .
Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzski blast President Trump in an op-ed in the Washington Post for his Twitter rant about them: 

The president’s unhealthy obsession with “Morning Joe” does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs. Despite his constant claims that he no longer watches the show, the president’s closest advisers tell us otherwise. That is unfortunate. We believe it would be better for America and the rest of the world if he would keep his 60-inch-plus flat-screen TV tuned to “Fox & Friends.” [read on] 

Shouldn't Trump's Mika post be covered by his wife's (non-existent) cyberbullying campaign? 

Apparently not:

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who I need to find a nickname for, comes to Trump's defense
“This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media and the liberal elites within the media Hollywood or anywhere else" [read on]
Yeah, that’s pretty unusual for a president to get attacked by lots of people. Unprecedented even. It’s probably never before happened in the whole history of the United States. The part Trump doesn’t get is that pretty much everyone is just laughing at him for this stuff. It’s long since been obvious that Trump makes empty threats constantly. Threats against people, threats against news organizations, threats against foreign countries, even threats against the laws of physics. But he never follows up on them. They’re just a way of getting attention. They were sort of amusing back when he was a TV reality show host trying to get his name in Page Six, then they were alarming when he was running for president, and now they’re just sort of pathetic. But he has no idea, does he?

Donald Trump abandons the pretense of dignity

Why "blood"?

Women know what Trump's 'blood' comment meant
Then there’s the fact that to the president, women are either “beautiful” or “disgusting.” But there is a third category he apparently reserves for the worst women: “bloody.” (The implication that, for Trump, blood epitomizes repulsiveness might explain why he eats his steaks well done.)
But I was most struck by Trump’s raw misogyny.  . . . I’m not sure that even well-intentioned men understand how relentlessly degrading this presidency is for many women. Having a man who does not recognize the humanity of more than half the population in a position of such power is a daily insult; it never really goes away. . . . [read on]

Trump's long history of misogyny


"Anyone else would have been fired"

An insult to our intelligence
WH Says Trump Never Encouraged Violence. Let’s Check The Tape.


"Clenched fist" -- this is an NRA ad . . . but you can see what it's really about

“It’s actually an example of propaganda when it’s most sinister,” Mark Crispin Miller of NYU told TPM. “It’s extremely hostile, takes a dark view of dissonance and protest and lauds the police as our only protection against this unprecedented threat.”  The advertisement takes on the classic method of creating a “they” mentality, he said, while saluting police power.  “What it basically does is create this nightmarish image of an all-powerful ‘they,’ which would be protesters, it would be Democrats and liberals and Hollywood, the media. They’re all the same, one big monolithic entity and the goal of that entity is to destroy not just the Trump presidency, but the whole country,” he said. “The images suggest chaos and violence and brutality by an undifferentiated mass of malicious actors. … It’s aimed at resentful denizens of ‘fly-over states.’ It suggests that there’s a kind of malevolent group that’s in control of everything and trying to destroy the rest of us, the good people and our president.”
Russia probe reaches into Trump's inner circle

There are a lot of if's attached to this story, but if true it is the first specific evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia
[WSJ] Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.  In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump. . . . Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the intelligence. 

It’s no secret that Trump wanted someone to find Clinton’s deleted emails — he said as much publicly. . . . In July 2016, hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee were publicly released, and the hacks were thought to be the work of Russia. And at the time, Trump said in public that he hoped there would be email releases to come — including Clinton’s deleted ones. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re about to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton] emails that are missing,” he said at a press conference. . . . A few months after this, in fall 2016, Peter Smith launched the effort reported by the Journal to try to get the emails from hacking groups that he thought might have them — including hacking groups he understood to be tied to the Russian government.  Again, though, it seems that no one did have Clinton’s deleted emails. . . . [read on] 

The new GOP rallying cry
Investigate The Investigators 

The Trump gang tries to develop new travel restrictions in line with the Supreme Court's criteria
The Trump administration is putting new criteria in place Thursday for visa applicants from six mostly Muslim nations and all refugees, requiring a close family or business tie to the United States. The move comes after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims. Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked . . .

The State Department, which oversees the visa-application process at embassies and consulates throughout the world, is interpreting the Court’s language narrowly. . . .
How Trump administration officials arrived at the idea that a son-in-law counts but a grandmother doesn’t is unclear. . . .
The Muslim Ban Lives, and There’s Worse To Come
Today was supposed to be Trump’s immigration victory lap. Then he tweeted. 

UN ambassador Nikki Haley brags about cutting the peacekeeping budget -- because, you know, who needs peacekeeping?
Trump's "re-election" fundraiser, just a few months into his first term, and held at his own hotel, is an ethics cesspool

Governing is SO HARD
The U.S. government's budget deficit is widening sharply this year, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday in a report that could raise new questions about the tax cut package Republicans are trying to push on Capitol Hill. CBO said the deficit would widen to $693 billion for the fiscal year that ends September 30. That is roughly 3.6 percent of gross domestic product, and would mark the largest budget deficit since 2013. In January, CBO projected the deficit would be $585 billion, or 2.9 percent of GDP. The primary reason for the larger deficit is that the government is collecting less money in tax receipts than they expected. . . .

[NB: Time for a big tax cut, right?] 

CBO: Congress Has October Deadline To Avoid Devastating Economic Default
Donald Trump Has Finally Done Something: He’s Increased the Deficit By a Trillion Dollars

Bogus ‘Election Integrity’ commission wants states to turn over all voter data

Trump’s voter-fraud commission wants to know voting history, party ID and address of every voter in the U.S.  

[NB: There are SO many ways this information could be misused.]

California says, go suck eggs

Same commission adds Hans von Spakovsky, who longtime PBD readers will remember as a vote suppression specialist from the Bush administration. Adding him tells you everything about what this commission is intended to do

Who is he? 

Wow. Bush-era AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), which greatly expanded the president's power to wage war, gets voted down by a House committee
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) won an unexpected and significant victory Thursday, when the House Appropriations Committee approved her amendment to sunset the 2001 law, passed days after the 9/11 attacks, which has subsequently been used to justify 16 years of American overseas military engagements. . . .

"The leakiest White House I've ever covered"  

The Trump gang has declared war on the press. Here's how the press needs to fight back

Well, the Greta experiment at MSNBC didn't last long

"Infowars" is an anagram for "As I frown"
A report on Alex Jones’ InfoWars claiming child sex slaves have been kidnapped and shipped to Mars is untrue, NASA told The Daily Beast on Thursday. . . .

[NB: Infowars, which Donald Trump treats as a legitimate news source.]

Bonus item: Trump's bizarre handshakes

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