The Wires

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September 9: The New York Times reports that Equifax is doing nothing to protect you if hackers to its system gained access to your personal information. In fact, Equifax has a plan to make money on your misfortune. Reporter Ron Lieber has some suggestions about what you can do to protect yourself from Equifax & its hackers. Equifax is providing no good way to find out if you've been affected; it is apparently just trying to hook as many suckers as it can into getting a "free" account, but you can bet it won't stay free. Read the story if you'd like to feel helpless & enraged.

On Request:

David Remnick of the New Yorker remembers its publisher S.I. NewHouse, Jr.

Janet Malcolm of the New Yorker profiles Rachel Maddow. Mrs. McC: Maddow was right the first time about the canisters.

The New Yorker has links to Lillian Ross's stories here. The New Yorker is subscription-only but allows non-subscribers to read six stories a month, so if you're not a subscriber, you may want to open the page in a private window.

Mrs. McCrabbie: When the Emmy folks are looking to give out prizes next year, they should think Jimmy Kimmel.

Some highlights of the Emmys:

... To watch the whole monologue, go to YouTube & type something like "stephen colbert monologue emmys". There are quite a few pirated copies up right now, but CBS will certainly take them down, so none will be posted here. The Washington Post has some of the transcript here.

Former star of "The Apprentice" finally gets his Emmy:

Kim Weeks in the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton revealed this week she turned to an esoteric breathing technique popular among yogis to heal from her devastating election loss.... By bringing this kind of breath work into the mainstream, Clinton has introduced the world to a practice that has both proven mental and physical health benefits.... In nadi shodhana, the process of literally alternating breathing between the right and left nostril also helps balance the right and left brain, the right and left lungs, and the right and left sides of the body. Alternate nostril breathing has been shown to slow down a rapid heart rate and to lower blood pressure." ...

... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Okay, I tried it. I can do the left nostril but not the right. That stressed me out.

Hill: "Melissa McCarthy brought home an Emmy this weekend for her memorable impression of former press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live. The actress won an Emmy for best comedy actress on a comedy series at the Emmy’s creative arts awards Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The awards are a precursor to the main show next weekend." Spicer panned McCarthy's impression.

New York Times: "Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, plans to step down from the magazine in December after a 25-year tenure, leaving the role that established him as a ringmaster of the Hollywood, Washington and Manhattan power elite. Mr. Carter’s influence stretched from the magazine and entertainment worlds into finance, literature and politics, where President Trump, a target of Mr. Carter’s poison pen for decades, still bristles at the mention of his name. One of the few remaining celebrity editors in an industry whose fortunes have faded, Mr. Carter — famous for double-breasted suits, white flowing hair and a seven-figure salary — is a party host, literary patron, film producer and restaurateur whose cheeky-yet-rigorous brand of reporting influenced a generation of journalists.... Spy[a magazine Carter co-founded,] took special glee in attacking Mr. Trump, whom the magazine memorably deemed a 'short-fingered vulgarian.' (The insult stuck: just last week, Mr. Trump referred to his 'too big' hands during a visit to Houston.)"

New York Times: "Tronc, the publisher of The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, announced on Monday that it had acquired The Daily News, the nearly 100-year-old tabloid that for decades set the city’s agenda with its gossip, sports and city coverage. The deal represents the end of an era for The News, which was long a voice for New York’s working class. It may also signal the end of the political influence of its owner, the real estate magnate Mortimer B. Zuckerman, who often used the paper’s bold, front-page headline — known as 'the wood' — for commentary about candidates and politicians, locally and nationally."

Guardian (Sept. 4): "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child, Kensington Palace has announced. The announcement was made as the duchess was forced to cancel an engagement on Monday because of extreme morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum."

Thursday
Oct122017

The Commentariat -- October 13, 2017

Mrs. McCrabbie: Trump really did go to military school, but they must have practiced fewer military traditions than the (female) principals did at my grade school. Every day, everyone in the school stood up & saluted when some poor kid played "To the Colors" & "Retreat" -- cast over the intercom system -- at the raising & lowering of the flag. Either that, or this is another instance of Trump's dementia kicking in:

*****

Mark Lander & David Sanger of the New York Times: "President Trump will make good on Friday on a long-running threat to disavow the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama. But he will stop short, for now, of unraveling the accord or even rewriting it, as the deal’s defenders had once feared. In a speech on Friday afternoon, Mr. Trump will declare his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. Doing so essentially kicks to Congress a decision about whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran, which would blow up the agreement. But the Trump administration made it clear that it wants to leave the 2015 accord intact, at least for now. Instead, it is asking Congress to establish 'trigger points,' which could prompt the United States to reimpose sanctions on Iran if it crosses thresholds set by Congress." ...

... Alex Shephard of the New Republic: "Trump’s frequent (and seemingly growing) temper tantrums are alarming, as is the fact that his closest advisers routinely treat him like a toddler. But the biggest and most unsettling aspect of this is how we got to this [Iran] 'compromise.' It wasn’t made for any reason related to policy — it unsettles an acceptable framework by adding considerable, unnecessary, and far-reaching risk. Instead, the United States is shifting its policy toward Iran simply because President Trump doesn’t want to acknowledge any of Barack Obama’s achievements. This compromise was cooked up to please the president’s ego, not because it serves any sort of larger strategic or geopolitical interest."

Vindictive Twerp Finds Another Way to Undermine ObamaCare. Josh Dawsey & Paul Demko of Politico: "... Donald Trump plans to cut subsidy payments to insurers in his most aggressive move yet to undermine Obamacare after months of unsuccessful repeal efforts on Capitol Hill, according to two sources. The subsidies, which are worth an estimated $7 billion this year and are paid out in monthly installments, may stop almost immediately since Congress hasn’t appropriated funding for the program. Insurers rely on the subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income Obamacare customers. They’re still on the hook to provide the discounted rates to their members under the law, despite no longer receiving the federal funding." Mrs. McC: What a hateful, spiteful, vicious old SOB. Congress had better get its act together & flush Trump's shit down the toilet. ...

[President Trump has] apparently decided to punish the American people for his inability to improve our health care system. It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America. Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it. -- Sen. Chuck Schumer & Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in a joint statement ...

... Robert Pear & others write the New York Times story: "President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers. The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces." ...

... Nicholas Bagley, the Incidental Economist: "Some years back, the House of Representatives sued the Obama administration for continuing to make the cost-sharing payments in the absence of an appropriation. Although I still don’t think that the House had standing to sue, I thought its legal argument was sound: the money hadn’t been appropriated. The Trump administration apparently agrees, and is using that as its pretext to terminate the payments. So what happens now? Lawsuits, lawsuits, and more lawsuits. Right out of the gate, I’d put dimes to dollars that that the 16 states that have intervened in the ongoing litigation will seek an immediate injunction from the D.C. Circuit to keep the cost-sharing payments flowing. The states may also file a separate lawsuit in district court seeking the same relief.... If Congress doesn’t act, it’s really the worst of all worlds." Bagley explains why Trump's move will cause "total federal outlays [to] actually increase.... It’s a financial bath, and for no good reason other than sheer political cussedness. What a stupid, profligate, and unnecessary mess." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: These moves are part of Trump's larger effort to further separate the haves from the have-nots. In this case, the haves are financially-comfortable, relatively young & healthy younger Americans, and the have-nots are lower-income, older Americans with greater healthcare needs. Donald Trump has come after the old & the sick. ...

... Vindictive Twerp Signs Executive Order to Undermine ObamaCare. Robert Pear & Reed Abelson of the New York Times: "President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that clears the way for potentially sweeping changes in health insurance, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers than those mandated under the Affordable Care Act. But most of the changes will not come until federal agencies adopt regulations, after an opportunity for public comments — a process that could take months." Story was reported earlier & kinked below) & updated after Trump signed the order, with the usual fanfare, including once again forgetting to sign the order (he did so after mike pence reminded him). (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Amber Phillips of the Washington Post: "... depending on how it's implemented, the executive order Trump signed Thursday could be his most significant step yet to sabotage the [ACA]. It will expand the availability of plans that are loosely regulated and don't have to provide essential health benefits, which could pull people off the Obamacare exchanges." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Adam Cancryn of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order directing an overhaul of major federal health regulations, calling it the first step toward fulfilling the GOP's promise to repeal Obamacare. The order is aimed at encouraging the rise of a raft of cheap, loosely regulated health insurance plans that don't have to comply with certain Obamacare consumer protections and benefit rules. They'd attract younger and healthier people — leaving older and sicker ones in the Obamacare markets facing higher and higher costs.... The administration is also preparing to roll back Obama-era restrictions on short-term health insurance plans, allowing insurers to once again sell stopgap policies which don't cover pre-existing conditions, mental health services and many other costly benefits. Coverage could extend for as long as a year, up from a current three-month limit." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Jonathan Chait: "The Trump administration is taking two steps to [wreck ObamaCare]. First, it is opening two loopholes to allow healthy people to purchase unregulated insurance, splitting the market and loading more costs onto people with expensive medical needs. Second, it announced tonight it is ending cost-sharing payments to insurers who take on low-income customers.... If Obamacare were truly collapsing, sabotage would not be necessary. It is the law’s success, not its failure, that has made Trump so determined to wreck it. The White House has released a statement confirming its intention to end the [subsidy] payments, written in the pidgin-English indicating the president’s own authorial hand."

Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "President Trump will extend a March 5 deadline to end protections for young undocumented immigrants if Congress fails to act by then, according to a Republican senator who spoke directly with the president about the issue. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Trump told him he was willing to 'give it some more time' to allow lawmakers to find a solution for 'dreamers,' unauthorized immigrants brought to this country as children, if Congress does not pass legislation extending protections before time is up." Mrs. McC: Don't you know yet, Jim, that you can't believe a word Trump says? Better get cracking, Congress.

Dan Friedman of Mother Jones: "The White House has blown by an October 1 deadline for beginning to implement new sanctions targeting Russia, drawing concern in Congress that President Donald Trump is planning to ignore parts of a bill he grudgingly signed in August...The aide said that members of the White House’s National Security Council have assured senators that they are “getting to” the sanctions and “it’s gonna happen.” But lawmakers are wary." --safari

Philip Rucker, et al., of the Washington Post: "Under withering criticism from Puerto Ricans for his administration’s flawed response to the devastation there, Trump sought to hold the territory responsible for its own plight because of chronic mismanagement — prompting an immediate backlash from Puerto Ricans and mainland lawmakers in both parties." ...

... Jessica Kwong of Newsweek: "In a tweet Thursday afternoon, FEMA spokeswoman Eileen Lainez wrote that the agency 'will be w/Puerto Rico, USVI, every state, territory impacted by a disaster every day, supporting throughout their response & recovery.'... Her tweet came five hours after Trump took to Twitter to say the island’s financial crisis 'looms largely of their own making' and is due to the poor state of its infrastructure and electrical system and its governor’s 'total lack of … accountability.' 'We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!' Trump tweeted.... A few hours after Trump’s tweet, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló doubled down on his call for federal aid, tweeting, 'The U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico are requesting the support that any of our fellow citizens would receive across our Nation.'” Mrs. McC: Rosselló has previously been obsequiously supportive of Trump. ...

... Gene Robinson: "More than 80 percent of Puerto Rico is still in the dark, more than a third of its residents still have no clean drinking water, much of the island’s infrastructure still lies in ruins — and President Trump cruelly threatens to cut off federal aid. Doing so would be government by spite and should be considered an impeachable offense.... The president complained Sunday on Twitter, 'Nobody could have done what I’ve done for #PuertoRico with so little appreciation. So much work!' Note the use of 'I' instead of 'we' or even 'my administration.' For the record, what Trump has done personally for the people of Puerto Rico is playfully toss rolls of paper towels into a crowd.”

When Is It Okay to Show Disrespect for the U.S. Flag? When the President Does It. Oliver Willis of Shareblue: "Donald Trump sat and laughed with Fox News host Sean Hannity as the 'Retreat' bugle call was played. Tradition dictates that members of the military and civilian leadership stand at attention to respect the U.S. flag during the solemn ceremony. Trump’s act of disrespect occurred during an interview that happened in a hangar at the Air National Guard base in Pennsylvania. Trump referred to the bugle call as a 'nice sound,' and asked Hannity if they were playing it 'in honor of his ratings.' As the official Army website notes, playing 'Retreat' is 'one of the oldest traditions in the U.S. Army, which dates back to the Revolutionary War.' Playing the song is used 'to ... pay respect to the nation’s flag.' Trump disrespected the flag the same evening he returned to the subject of black NFL players protesting police brutality by kneeling during the anthem.” ...

... David Choi of Business Insider: "When the American flag is lowered and raised on US military installations, a bugle blares on loudspeakers as service members and civilians pay their respects to the flag. Uniformed service members located outside of a building are required to stop and salute the flag, while civilians are required to place their hand over their heart. The tradition also requires service members who are driving vehicles on a military base to pull over and render a salute. Members of the [Trump-Hannity] audience could be seen standing up during the ceremony[.]" ...

     ... Mrs. McC: And let's add that Hannity's audience cheered Trump's & Hannity's every word -- after they showed disrespect for the flag. (Update: According to the Washington Post, "Retreat" was played after Trump ragged NFL players.) Of course we should acknowledge that Trump & Hannity don't know or care squat about the military; they chose the Guard hangar for the interview site to provide an optical illusion that they do care. Neither has served in the military.

Sarah Burris of the Raw Story: "In one of the strangest links in ... Donald Trump’s Russia scandal yet, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noticed an interesting history with a key lawyer.... In 2013, Trump offered President Barack Obama $5 million for proof that he was born in the United States. In return, 'Real Time' host Bill Maher offered Trump $5 million if he could prove he wasn’t the spawn of an orangutan.... Trump ... sent Maher a bill along with his birth certificate. [The attorney who sent Trump's $5MM demand letter was Scott Balber.]... This week, The Washington Post and CNN reported a story about greater details between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. The intermediary between Veselnitskaya and the Trump campaign were Putin-linked Russian billionaires Aras and Emin Agalarov. The lawyer that represented Agalarovs is none other than Scott Balber." ...

     ... Dear Bob Mueller: hard to believe this is some stranger-than-fiction coincidence. s/Mrs. Bea McCrabbie ...

... Sins of Omission. Kara Scannell of CNN: "The head of a government bureau responsible for clearing background checks told lawmakers Wednesday he has 'never seen that level of mistakes' when asked about numerous omissions in Jared Kushner's security clearance application. Charles Phalen, the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, a newly created division within the Office of Personnel Management, made the comment in response to a question during a House subcommittee oversight hearing."

Gardiner Harris & Steve Erlanger of the New York Times: "The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would withdraw from Unesco, the United Nations cultural organization, after years of America distancing itself because of what it called the group’s 'anti-Israel bias.'” (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Louis Nelson of Politico: "White House chief of staff John Kelly said Thursday that he is not resigning, making a surprise appearance in the White House press briefing room to push back against media reports that his relationship with ... Donald Trump has been approaching a breaking point." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Kelsey Tamborrino of Politico: "... John Kelly on Thursday defended ... Donald Trump's periodic public attacks on Republican members of Congress, saying the president 'has a right to defend himself.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Andrew Restuccia of Politico: "As a top executive at AccuWeather, Barry Myers has pushed for limits on the kinds of products that the National Weather Service offers to the public, saying they offered unfair competition to his industry. Now..., Donald Trump's nomination of Myers to lead the weather service's parent agency could allow him to make those kinds of restrictions mandatory — to the benefit of his family-run forecasting company. The AccuWeather CEO's nomination to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is stirring criticism from people who worry he would hobble the weather service, which provoked an industry backlash more than a decade ago by making hour-by-hour forecasts, cellphone alerts and other consumer-friendly data widely available online.... Myers, whose brother Joel founded AccuWeather in 1962, would join a roster of other business leaders whom Trump has installed atop his agencies — many of them bringing considerable potential conflicts of interest to the job. He has degrees in law and business, not the science and math degrees that Bush’s and President Barack Obama’s NOAA chiefs had."

Tim Egan: Scott "Pruitt is the swamp, the only wetland the Trump administration wants to protect. He serves the oil, chemical and mining interests that propped him up when he was attorney general of Oklahoma. He now runs the oil, chemical and mining protection agency out of Washington, with our money. You would never guess that this toady in a suit works for us.... In announcing this week that President Trump intends to spite all the other nations and gut President Barack Obama’s signature effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Pruitt framed the move as the end of the 'war on coal.' Now comes the war on the planet and public health. Amid the hourly calamities of a White House that is forced to treat its chief occupant like a toddler, it’s easy to forget that Trump is doing real damage to things that all of us share." ...

... Don't Be Upset -- It's the End of the World Anyway. Matthew Diebel of USA Today: "Scientists working in and around Yellowstone National Park say that the supervolcano sitting under the tourist attraction may blow sooner than thought, an eruption that could wipe out life on the planet.... The researchers, The New York Times reported, have determined that the supervolcano has the ability to spew more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash — 2,500 times more material than erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980 — an event that could blanket most of the United States in ash and possibly plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter." Mrs. McC: Maybe this is Mother Nature, aiming to beat Trump to the apocalypse. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) 

Capitalism Is Awesome, Ctd. Weinstein Company Accommodated Harvey's History of Sexual "Misconduct." TMZ: "Harvey Weinstein may have been fired illegally by The Weinstein Company.... TMZ is privy to Weinstein's 2015 employment contract, which says if he gets sued for sexual harassment or any other 'misconduct' that results in a settlement or judgment against TWC, all Weinstein has to do is pay what the company's out, along with a fine, and he's in the clear. The contract says as long as Weinstein pays, it constitutes a 'cure' for the misconduct and no further action can be taken. Translation -- Weinstein could be sued over and over and as long as he wrote a check, he keeps his job." ...

    ... Mrs. McC: Company officials' pretense that they were the last to know is a Big Fat Lie. Not only did they know, they tacitly approved it, assuming TMZ's reporting is correct (and surprisingly, TMZ has a pretty good track record). The company's only concern was to make sure it was held harmless from Harvey's attacks on women. As TMZ asserts, it looks as if the Big Fat Pig has a viable breach-of-contract case against the Weinstein Company.

King Zinke. Sarah Burris of RawStory: "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has come under fire for spending nearly as much as former Secretary Tom Price on private airline flights, but now it appears he also has special mandates for the buildings he’s in. The Washington Post reported Thursday that Zinke unearthed a military ritual hoisting special secretarial flags on whatever buildings he happens to be in. Each time Zinke is scheduled to enter a building, a security staffer takes an elevator to the top floor and climbs to the roof where his special flag is raised. When he is not in the building, the security staffer must, once again, climb the steps to the top and take the flag down." --safari

Ryan Deveraux & Spencer Woodman of The Intercept: "An internal handbook obtained by The Intercept provides a rare view into the extensive asset seizure operations of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, an office that trains its agents to meticulously appraise the value of property before taking it...The handbook acknowledges that civil forfeiture can be used to take property from a person even when there’s not enough evidence for a criminal indictment." --safari

Reader Comments (20)

I'm a big girl. And, you know that big girls don't cry! But, reading the articles on yesterday's signing and seeing the glee on the faces of those surrounding Trump and clapping to his smirking face...made me sick, sad, angry and filled with a loathing that I've not known. My eyes were stinging as I read on.

He is one truly despicable, disgusting son-of-a-bitch.
Followed closely by Paul Rand, Paul Ryan, Pruitt, Mulvaney, Mnuchin, McConnell, et al.

It's now quarter to one a.m. — no use going to bed, am so angry, won't sleep. Damn, what will rid us of this insanity?

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Is there a rueful silver lining in all this outrage?

I'm thinking there will soon be nothing left of the Pretender's agenda. Environmental gains? Reversed. Health care for millions. Gone. Sane nuclear policy. Toast. Semi-equitable taxes. Garbage canned. And when he has destroyed every fine thing done by his predecessor, which seemingly constitutes his entire to-do list, he will be left with nothing to do. Will we then have a respite?

Oh, that's right. He has Ryan's agenda to fall back on, beginning with voucherizing Medicare, and then he can get to work privatizing the entire federal government (just heard he's working on doing that to the national weather service). And on the legal front there are all those pesky Bills of Rights he would like to toss in the ash can. They do get in the Pretender's way.

Guess my initial hope was misplaced. Going to bed as down in the mouth as MAG.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

I see that little weasel Rand Paul clapping happily behind the Hater in Chief. Wasn’t he one of the “principled” Comfederates who complained about repeal without replace? How is this different? This is a strangulation of the only healthcare millions of Americans have ever known. I guess in his Libertarian lizard brain it serves them right because these mooches have had it good for too long. Time for them to go the back of the line where they’ve been Adam ate the apple. I tell you what, my brothers and sisters, Democrats better hang this horse collar around the neck of every one of those spiteful, inhuman assholes, especially the vile little king, who believes that thrusting millions of citizens back into the dark ages constitutes a big WIN!

And they better start a GOTV campaign right now, today, and target each and every one of these evil animals. Make that baboon pay in one of the only ways that matters to him. Take back the Senate and tell him that from now until he drops dead, he’s nothing but a sad, weak loser. Deny him any more such “wins”.

Jesus, what a terrible day. A true day of infamy. Except in this case, Americans were ruthlessly attacked by their own president.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Speaking of being attacked by our own government, how about hopelessly abandoned as well?

The Puerto Rico disaster is reportedly spiraling out of control, and the death toll likely to rise significantly higher. Trump's ineptness and lack of leadership is literally killing people right now, and his ACA actions will likely speed up the demise of another many lives as medicine and treatments become once again unaffordable in our such Exceptional country.

I'm guessing, as the dead bodies pile up in Puerto Rico and the legitimate criticism rises, Trump is going to further prove his empty inner shell by tweeting about rising death tolls as "fake news" while patting himself on the back for "so much work!", nonchalantly brushing off the completely avoidable untimely deaths of his own citizens.

That's dark enough, but the worst part is that fellow GOPers, the peoples' representatives, will remain silent (except maybe a rare voice), and the Patriotic, true American GOP base couldn't give two fucks about it.

We've become a twisted people, top to bottom.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari

I understand that he’s trying to keep a low profile, but I’d love to hear from the last real president of the United States.

So far media reports about Trump’s evil actions have been unconscionably reserved. It’s almost as if they’re reporting the results of some back bencher’s sub-sub-sub committee’s report on problems with certain types of cold patch when used for filling pot holes greater than 1.56 cu ft.

Would that they’d call up the same breathless intensity they used when reporting on the Benghaaazzzi bullshit or Clinton’s emails.

Will no one speak up against this act of murder by willful negligence?

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Well, looks like it's finally sinking in––we––the people in this country and those on those two islands on that very large, very BIG sea are being snookered which is a polite way to say we are being fucked every which way from Sunday. I understand there are moves in the cloak rooms of Congress to start Impeachment proceedings which I doubt will get off the ground––certainly they would wait for the Mueller findings–-but maybe not. Meanwhile we will literally burn, die, go broke, go hungry, and become slowly but surely disengaged from the rest of the world. All the comments above make me so sad, so mad, so frustrated that we have reached this point of utter chaos and futility. Surely this cannot continue?

Stephen Stills said it best: Helplessly hoping.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

PD,

Impeachment is highly problematic. Even if the Mueller investigation comes back positive for collusion, I wouldn’t put it past the little despot to call out his white supremacist brownshirts for armed insurrection, to come and save him from the forces trying to “railroad” him with “fake news”. This guy won’t go quietly.

Unless Steve Stills is right and Trump trips “...at the sound of goodbye.”

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus & PD Pepe: There is still the possibility of implementation of the 25th Amendment, but that also is unlikely as it would force mike pence to go in search of his balls.

On impeachment, like Akhilleus, I find that unlikely. For one thing, it wouldn't surprise me if Mueller indicted some of Trump's gang, but sealed any indictment against Trump himself till he's out of office. There's debate on whether a sitting president can be indicted. I think the answer is yes, but there's hardly universal agreement among legal scholars. (This, BTW, would be a great place to employ the 25th Amendment -- President too busy preparing for his trial to run the county? Let's let mikey do it!)

As for the general problem of Trump's anti-American policy moves, I see three possible outcomes. (1) Things will go on as they are today: Trump wrecking everything & a Congressional Republican majority doing nothing about it; (2) voters putting Democrats back in power, but not with anything like the numbers to override Trump's vetoes, and/or (3) voters, whose fortunes are falling under the burden of Trump's policies, seeking restitution is a powerful populist nationalist -- either Trump or someone more competent at establishing an authoritarian stronghold.

(2) would still be better than (1) because a Democratic Congress would not be passing anti-American bills, while a Republican Congress could get its act together & pass some terrible bills.

(3) is similar to what has happened in some other democratic or quasi-democratic countries -- the voters have become desperate enough to believe the crap some sly demagogue spews & put him into power only to find that within a few years their country is no longer even quasi-democratic. I believe this outcome is entirely possible(see presidential election results, 2016), but I wouldn't put odds on any of the three scenarios I suggest.

In the meantime, Americans are caught between something like Scylla & Charybdis. Call it Trump & the volcano -- one of them is going to be the end of us.

October 13, 2017 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Meanwhile in Germany as in some other European countries there are loud rumblings of what they call the New Right. Here is an excellent article I encourage you all to read––the light it sheds is worth taking in since its messages sound all too familiar.

"This "ethno-pluralism" as New right activities call it, is not based on Western liberal notions of equality or the primacy of individual rights but in opposition to other cultures, usually nonwhite, that they say are threatening to overtake Europe and indeed, the entire Western world by means of IMMIGRATION [emphasis mine]"

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/magazine/the-prophet-of-germanys-new-right.html?_r=0

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

See on FB a post from "Christian Conservatives for Trump" claiming Kelly Clarkson met the 17 year old Trump and led him to his education. Clarkson is 36. And on the post they claim 'God is grate', and in a follow post claim the person is a 'moran'.

Googled the group. It's a parody.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

What I said last night, longer and better. Sorry, can't summon the link.

"The real reason Trump is so dead set on crushing Obamacare" by
Chris Cillizza on CNN Talking Points

Or, nihilism as a governing principle in action.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Remember when Confederates and the Glorious Leader rent their shirts and tore out their hair (not Trump, it would come off) over Obama's use of executive orders? Where is the outrage now that they're doing the same thing?

Oh, wait. It's not the same, is it?

No.

Here's what's different. Obama used executive orders as a last resort because of a Republican controlled congress that had pledged to destroy him and deny anything he wanted to accomplish, legislatively, to help make the country a better place. At long last, realizing that McConnell and company wouldn't lift a finger to help, he found that he had no choice but to resort to executive orders to get something, ANYthing done.

Trump? Much different. First, Trump has a Republican controlled congress but they STILL won't do shit. They are as incompetent as he is stupid. So in order to leapfrog incompetent wingers who piss him off, Trump pulls out the executive order. At other times, he simply uses it as a first choice, deciding that all that democratic nonsense about proposing legislation, debating the bill, and voting it up or down is for loser schmoes, not Great Kings like himself.

But it all involves Republican perfidy and ineptitude. With Obama , they sit on their hands and tell a president, sorry, we're not going to do anything with you in office. You should be shining our shoes, not living in our beautiful White House. So, because he was charged with getting things done, he uses executive orders. "Wahhh...wahhh" they all cried. "He's using executive orders! No fair!" Now it's the Age of Trump. They run the show. They control the House, the Senate, and the White House. But they don't know how to do anything. They're ignorant, bigoted, incompetent, and greedy, and nothing gets done. And Trump, not wanting to deal with democracy, says "Screw it. I'm the king. Everyone got to do what I say." and he plays the executive order card even though, with some hard work and attention to legal and legislative processes, they could do things the right way.

They don't. But when this president pulls out the executive order gambit, do they yell and scream the way they did when they gave Obama no choice? Of course not. They line up behind Prez Baboon and cheer and clap and slap each other on the back.

.....words fail.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Mrs. B.,

Scylla and Charybdis it is. If Trump is impeached, he will unleash a torrent of violence across the land. He might have the support of only 38% of the country, but a large portion of that 38% are armed and dangerous. And a larger percentage of that group than any of us would care to contemplate, are armed, dangerous, and borderline insane. And ready for a fight. With guns. Remember how the day after it looked like even the NRA lackeys in congress might actually do something and ban the bump stocks that allowed that NRA supporter in Las Vegas to murder all those people, gun knobbers raced to gun stores to clean out the shelves stocked with those items?

A whole lot of those people are already cleaning the guns and waiting for the word from Trump to open fire.

If I were betting the over-under on that, I'd definitely take the under.

The next option, almost as bad, is we get little mikey pence. Pence can do pretend presidential a lot better than DFT. This means congress will work with him and there will be much more wingnut mischief made into law. Stinking, fetid law, but law, nonetheless.

The final option is that we put up with the full four years of Trump. But seeing the destruction wrought in just the last week, destroying healthcare for millions, threatening war, pulling out of the Iran deal, opening the door for them to go back to building a bomb, calling for an IQ test between himself and his Sec'y of State, (I'm sure I'm missing a couple of additional horrors, but I'm on the verge of a breakdown at this point), one could be forgiven for wondering if anything recognizable will be left of the United States after three more years of this viciousness. Viciousness the slacker abettors in congress will happily cheer on.

Maybe if, to take a page from winger fantasist Tom Clancy, there were some kind of catastrophic event in which the line of succession were called into play, we might end up with someone reasonable. But no...look at this list. See anyone you'd be happy with? Starting at the top, after Pence, you get Ryan, then Orrin Hatch. Then Tillerson, Mnuchin, Mattis, and Sessions (!!). Further down the list, you've got Ben Carson (holy crap, imagine that!), Betsy Devos (ditto!), and on down to Sec'y of Homeland Security, which, because Kirstjen Nielsen hasn't even been confirmed yet, would probably be the acting secretary, Elaine Duke, who recently cheered the hurricane in Puerto Rico as a "good news story"!

Holy shit, are we screwed. It's almost as if Trump, by piling on losers and degenerates and incompetents in that line, guarantees that no one will want to get rid of him.

It makes a trip to Scylla and Charybdis look like a day at the beach. Guess I'll call up my old pal Odysseus. He knows how to get through. If he doesn't remember, we'll pull out a bottle of Retsina and get hammered as we go down with the ship.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

So here's the bottom line of Trump's possibly illegitimate presidency.

He is all in on whatever the nastiest, most hateful, ignorant racist, gun knobbing creeps want. So if you'd like a road map of where we're headed for the next three plus years, just think of what would make these people thrilled down to their socks. He needs to shore up the core of "his people" (racist, misogynistic, christianist haters) and he's doing just that (even if many of them will be hurt by his policies--they likely don't care as long as mooching nee-groes get it in the neck).

Now close your eyes and imagine what that place will look like.

Got Dante beat by miles, doesn't it? Signor Alighieri would have to have had Virgil jump out of the boat before sailing into an Inferno ruled by Trump.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

If by not certifying the Iran nuclear agreement the Pretender is implying that Iran is not keeping up its end of the bargain, when all evidence says it is, doesn't that implication constitute an outright lie?

This time a really big one.

How does a serial liar keeps promises when the facts get in the way? One way is to just lie some more.

Another way for a liar to keep promises is to change the rules in the middle of the game. The ACA is broken. No, darn it, it isn't....so I'll break it and say, "See! I was right all along."

Other ways for a practices liar to operate? Feel free to add to the growing list.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Trump gets hero’s welcome at Christian summit: Andy Borowitz: 'Because nothing's more Christian than telling hurricane victims to go fuck themselves.'
Trump: 'We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values':
Judeo-Christian values according to Trump: let the poor starve, let the sick die, the only reason god created humans is for them to make money.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

In today's WaPo an article by Paige Cunningham gives the history of "multiple employer welfare arrangement" (MEWA) health insurance plans, which were around for decades before the ACA made the providers clean up their acts. These scams were essentially the same type of health insurance DiJiT is proposing, but not quite as bad.

And speaking of WaPo, I listened to CSPAN on the way home today, where the Values Voter Summit was broadcast live. The execrable grifter Anthony Perkins introduced Steve Scalise (R-LA), and the rousing Sousa march that brought Steverino to the mic was -- "The Washington Post March!!" Do you think either of them knew the name of the march? Naaaah.

In his "speech" Scalise, among other things, credited the wishes and prayers of the Trumps (!), and all the good people throughout the land who prayed for him, for his recovery from being shot in the hip and pelvis by a military 7.62 mm bullet. Not a word about the medical team that actually acted on God's behalf to turn those prayers into repaired tissue. Whatta guy!

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Patrick,

I’m pretty sure that flag waving Confederate “Patriots” have no idea that another Sousa march, the “Liberty Bell”, was the theme song for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Now that I think of it, they probably have no idea who or what Monty Python is. Ignorance is a sad state in which to be permanently mired.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

After yesterday and today can we finally accept the fact that John Kelly is not a positive influence on Trump. Kelly said that he makes sure that Trump has the best information to make his decisions. Yet he still doesn't know what the Iran deal is about. All Trump knows is Iran = Bad therefore Iran deal = Bad deal. Then we have a day of sabotaging healthcare. Trying to flood the market with cheap worthless policies and cutting off subsidies which will cause prices to rise and hurt even more people. Kelly helped or sat by while Trump came up with these horrible policies. We should not be surprised after how enthusiastic Kelly was to implement Trump's immigration raids. Kelly also told everyone that he was completely behind Trump with his first muslim ban. So much for the "adults" in the room.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRAS

I think we should create a company that sells pieces of paper that say "Insurance" on them. Only people who voted for trump can buy them. Some of them will save money, but I hope most of them will face financial hardship and start thinking about the world at large.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiskyGuy
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