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Friday, June 30, 2017

Morning Joe co-hosts accuse White House of blackmail over tabloid story. This is a felony, an impeachable offense. | US news | The Guardian

"Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the hosts of MSNBC’s politics show Morning Joe, on Friday accused White House staff members of blackmail.

Scarborough and Brzezinski also said Donald Trump lied about a December encounter, and that his “unhealthy obsession” with their program did not serve his mental health or the country well.

The two TV hosts, who are engaged to be married, postponed a vacation in order to respond to Trump’s Thursday tweets about them – tweets that drew widespread condemnation. Trump called Brzezinski “crazy” and said she was “bleeding badly from a facelift” when he saw the couple at his Florida estate.

On Friday’s Morning Joe, Scarborough claimed several top White House staffers had warned him about an unflattering article about him and Brzezinski due to published in the National Enquirer, and told him Trump could arrange for the story to be pulled – if the MSNBC host called the president to apologize for negative coverage of the administration.

Scarborough, a former Florida Republican congressman, said: “We got a call: ‘Hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys, and Donald is friends with … the president is friends with the guy that runs National Enquirer.’ And they said: ‘If you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story.’”

He added: “I had, I will just say, three people at the very top of the administration calling me. The calls kept coming, and kept coming, and they were like: ‘Come on, Joe, just pick up the phone and call him.’”

Scarborough said he declined to do so, and the story ran. Brzezinski also alleged that as part of the National Enquirer’s reporting, her teenage daughters were harassed with frequent phone calls.

In a tweet on Friday morning, Trump fired back, and alleged that Scarborough had called him about the negative article. “He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show,” wrote the president of the United States.

The National Enquirer put out its own statement. It read: “At the beginning of June, we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story.

“We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.”

A recent New Yorker magazine article detailed a close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of the Enquirer’s parent company, and how the supermarket tabloid has lauded Trump and printed damaging articles about his political opponents.

A spokesman for the New York County District Attorney declined to comment on whether they were investigating the claims. The district attorney’s office has a policy of not commenting on investigations, including whether or not an investigation exists.

Morning Joe co-hosts accuse White House of blackmail over tabloid story | US news | The Guardian

James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass, the man that Donald Trump was ignorant enough to think was still alive.

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough respond to Trump's tweets | MSNBC

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough respond to Trump's tweets | MSNBC

States Give Trump An Ultimatum: End Dreamers' Protection Or See Us In Court | HuffPost

States Give Trump An Ultimatum: End Dreamers' Protection Or See Us In Court | HuffPost

Stephen: 'This Is What's Wrong With The American President'

Mika Brzezinski responds to President Trump's tweets - The Washington Post

"The morning after being viciously attacked by President Trump on Twitter, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski said she wasn’t exactly reeling as a result of the president’s deeply personal and vulgar social-media assault.

But, she said, she is concerned about what Trump’s tweets reveal.

“I’m fine,” Brzezinski said Friday on “Morning Joe.” “My family brought me up really tough. This is absolutely nothing for me personally.
“But I’m very concerned about what this once again reveals about the president of the United States.”

She added: “The president’s tweets, whether they’re personally aimed at me … that doesn’t bother me one bit. It does worry me about the country.”
Brzezinski and her MSNBC co-host, Joe Scarborough, were scheduled to start a vacation, but delayed it so they could address the president’s attack, which came just after they’d finished their show Thursday morning.

They also authored an op-ed for The Washington Post about Trump’s tweets, writing: “President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, ‘Morning Joe.’”

Trump lashed out at the MSNBC co-hosts Thursday morning, calling Brzezinski “low I.Q. Crazy Mika”— and claiming she “was bleeding badly from a facelift” when she and Scarborough came to Mar-a-Lago — his private club in Palm Beach, Fla. — three nights in a row late last year.
Brzezinski and Scarborough were spotted at Trump’s New Year’s Eve party, according to pool reports at the time, prompting Scarborough to defend his presence there. At the time, Scarborough said that he and Brzezinski were at the party to set up an interview with the president-elect.
“It was amazing how many lies he packed into two tweets,” Brzezinski said Friday.
In their op-ed, the MSNBC hosts fact-checked Trump’s tweets, writing:

Mr. Trump claims that we asked to join him at Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row. That is false. He also claimed that he refused to see us. That is laughable.

The president-elect invited us both to dinner on Dec. 30. Joe attended because Mika did not want to go. After listening to the president-elect talk about his foreign policy plans, Joe was asked by a disappointed Mr. Trump the next day if Mika could also visit Mar-a-Lago that night. She reluctantly agreed to go. After we arrived, the president-elect pulled us into his family’s living quarters with his wife, Melania, where we had a pleasant conversation. We politely declined his repeated invitations to attend a New Year’s Eve party, and we were back in our car within 15 minutes.
Of Trump’s claims that Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a facelift,” they wrote: “That is also a lie.
“Putting aside Mr. Trump’s never-ending obsession with women’s blood, Mika and her face were perfectly intact, as pictures from that night reveal,” they wrote. “And though it is no one’s business, the president’s petulant personal attack against yet another woman’s looks compels us to report that Mika has never had a facelift. If she had, it would be evident to anyone watching ‘Morning Joe’ on their high-definition TV. She did have a little skin under her chin tweaked, but this was hardly a state secret.”

Noting what they called the president’s “continued mistreatment of women,” they added:
It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women. From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children. We were heartened to hear a number of Republican lawmakers call out Mr. Trump for his offensive words and can only hope that the women who are closest to him will follow their examples. It would be the height of hypocrisy to claim the mantle of women’s empowerment while allowing a family member to continue such abusive conduct.

Scarborough said Friday on MSNBC that Trump “attacks women; he fears women” and accused the president of having a “really disturbing obsession with Mika.”

[‘It is really not normal’: Both sides condemn Trump for vulgar tweet about TV host]
Trump’s tweets caused an immediate and sustained uproar — and drew condemnation from members of both political parties.
“Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” said House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). “What we’re trying to do around here is improve the civility and tone of the debate, and this obviously does not do that.”

More than three dozen Republicans and Democrats in Congress issued tweets of their own expressing disgust, calling Trump’s remarks “unpresidential,” “vile, sexist and unbecoming of an American leader,” “divisive,” “unhinged and shameful” and “amazingly graceless.”
The White House came to Trump’s defense Thursday, saying that Brzezinski and Scarborough have said far worse things about the president and his staff.

“Look, I don’t think you can expect someone to be personally attacked day after day, minute by minute, and sit back,” deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “Look, the American people elected a fighter. … They knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump.”

Trump once had a chummy relationship with “Morning Joe,” regularly calling in for lengthy interviews, referring to Brzezinski and Scarborough as “supporters” and offering to officiate at their wedding. But the hosts have become increasingly critical. For months, Brzezinski has raised questions about the president’s psychological health, calling him “possibly unfit mentally” and saying that he is “such a narcissist, it’s possible that he is mentally ill in a way.”

On Thursday morning, Brzezinski said that if someone took over NBC and acted as Trump has — “tweeting wildly about people’s appearances, bullying people, talking about people in the competition, lying every day, undermining his managers” — that “there would be concern that perhaps the person who runs the company is out of his mind.”
Sanders pointed to such rhetoric in her defense of Trump. “The things that this show has called him — and not just him, but numerous members of his staff, including myself and many others,” Sanders said. “It’s kind of like we’re living in the Twilight Zone. They do this day after day after day, and then the president responds and defends himself, and everybody is appalled and blown away.”
In their op-ed, the MSNBC co-hosts wrote:

We have known Mr. Trump for more than a decade and have some fond memories of our relationship together. But that hasn’t stopped us from criticizing his abhorrent behavior or worrying about his fitness. During the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, Joe often listened to Trump staff members complain about their boss’s erratic behavior, including a top campaign official who was as close to the Republican candidate as anyone.
We, too, have noticed a change in his behavior over the past few years. Perhaps that is why we were neither shocked nor insulted by the president’s personal attack. The Donald Trump we knew before the campaign was a flawed character but one who still seemed capable of keeping his worst instincts in check.

They also had a suggestion for Trump, writing that his “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.’”

The Post op-ed and Friday-morning MSNBC segment were Brzezinski’s first words on the matter — but not her first response to the attack.
Less than half an hour after Trump fired off the tweets, Brzezinski responded on the same social-media platform, tweeting a photo of a Cheerios cereal box including the caption: “Made for Little Hands.”

The message seemed to be aimed at mocking the size of the president’s hands — a sensitive topic for Trump that has dogged him for decades and even came up during a GOP presidential debate."

Mika Brzezinski responds to President Trump's tweets - The Washington Post: ""

Travel ban 2.0 goes into effect despite courts saying security issues unfounded | US news | The Guardian. Dog Whistle politics playing with peoples lives and separating families.


"The United States implemented a modified version of Donald Trump’s travel ban Thursday evening on some people from six Muslim-majority countries and certain refugees, citing security concerns that federal courts have declared to be unfounded.
Travel through major US airports appeared to be proceeding as usual, with border officials under orders to respect previously issued visas for citizens from the countries in question: Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya

Travel ban 2.0 goes into effect despite courts saying security issues unfounded | US news | The Guardian: ""

Donald Trump threatened with subpoena over Comey 'tapes' | US news | The Guardian


 "Bipartisan leaders on the House intelligence committee are threatening a subpoena if the White House does not clarify whether any recordings, memoranda or other documents exist of Donald Trump’s meetings with fired FBI director James Comey.

The panel had previously set a 23 June deadline for the White House to respond to the panel’s request. The day before, Trump said in a series of tweets that he ‘did not make, and do not have, any such recordings’ but also said he has ‘no idea’ if tapes or recordings of his conversations with Comey exist.

‘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,’ the president wrote on Twitter.

In a 23 June letter, the White House responded to the committee request by referring to Trump’s tweets."

(Via.). Donald Trump threatened with subpoena over Comey 'tapes' | US news | The Guardian:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn - WSJ

"Peter W. Smith portrayed the former general as an ally in an effort, independent of the Trump campaign, to find personal emails deleted by Hillary Clinton By Shane Harris June 29, 2017 5:14 p.m. ET WASHINGTON—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."

(Via.). GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn - WSJ:

Report links GOP operative to Flynn, Russian hackers | MSNBC



I’ve Overestimated Donald Trump - The New York Times


"I have to confess I’ve overestimated Donald Trump.

Back in the day, he sent me a copy of a column he objected to, with some notes suggesting I was a ‘dog and a liar’ with ‘the face of a pig.’

I’ve had many opportunities to make use of that story since Trump became a presidential candidate, so it’s all fine for me. However, I have to admit that it did not occur to me he’d keep doing that kind of stuff as president of the United States."

(Via.). I’ve Overestimated Donald Trump - The New York Times

Trump Mocks Mika Brzezinski; Says She Was ‘Bleeding Badly From a Face-Lift’ - The New York Times - Trump's misogyny reflects the attitudes of far to many of his supporters. How else can you explain people who voted for a man who bragged about committing sexual battery upon numerous woman.


"WASHINGTON — President Trump lashed out Thursday at the appearance and intellect of Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” drawing condemnation from his fellow Republicans and reigniting the controversy over his attitudes toward women that nearly derailed his candidacy last year.

Mr. Trump’s invective threatened to further erode his support from Republican women and independents, both among voters and on Capitol Hill, where he needs negotiating leverage for the stalled Senate health care bill.

The president described Ms. Brzezinski as “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and claimed in a series of Twitter posts that she had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a social gathering at Mr. Trump’s resort in Florida around New Year’s Eve. The White House did not explain what had prompted the outburst, but a spokeswoman said Ms. Brzezinski deserved a rebuke because of her show’s harsh stance on Mr. Trump.

The tweets ended five months of relative silence from the president on the volatile subject of gender, reintroducing a political vulnerability: his history of demeaning women for their age, appearance and mental capacity.


Trump Mocks Mika Brzezinski; Says She Was ‘Bleeding Badly From a Face-Lift’ - The New York Times: ""

Trump Thinks Healthcare Is Something You Can Win

Cuomo Declares a State of Emergency for New York City Subways - The New York Times

"Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the subway system on Thursday and said he would sign an executive order to accelerate efforts to improve service, including undertaking badly needed repairs and obtaining new cars and equipment.

Mr. Cuomo said the dismal performance of the system was no longer acceptable and said he had ordered Joseph J. Lhota, the new chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subway, to provide a reorganization plan for the agency within 30 days, to “design an organization that performs a function,” he said, denouncing the agency’s performance.

Mr. Lhota must also review the agency’s capital plan within 60 days, the governor added. Mr. Cuomo pledged to direct an additional $1 billion for capital improvements.

Mr. Cuomo’s comments came two days after a subway train derailed in northern Manhattan, injuring about three dozen people and raising concerns among commuters that the system had become not only unreliable, but unsafe."

Cuomo Declares a State of Emergency for New York City Subways - The New York Times

Stepsister, Yes; Grandma, No: U.S. Sets Guidelines for Revised Travel Ban - The New York Times This mean, ignorant and just plain stupid.

Stepsister, Yes; Grandma, No: U.S. Sets Guidelines for Revised Travel Ban - The New York Times

Morning Joe - Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, & Willie Geist

Morning Joe - Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, & Willie Geist:

Republican Bill to Repeal Obamacare and give huge tax cut to the rich from Medicaid is extremely unpopular

Screen Shot 2017 06 29 at 1 09 48 PM

Republicans already working to discredit Trump Russia probe | MSNBC

Republicans already working to discredit Trump Russia probe | MSNBC

Trump’s Obama Obsession - Trumps racism continues to be manifested in his hate for former President Obama. - The New York Times


Trumps racism continues to be manifested in is hate for former President Obama.

"Donald Trump has a thing about Barack Obama. Trump is obsessed with Obama. Obama haunts Trump’s dreams. One of Trump’s primary motivators is the absolute erasure of Obama — were it possible — not only from the political landscape but also from the history books.

Trump is president because of Obama, or more precisely, because of his hostility to Obama. Trump came onto the political scene by attacking Obama.

Trump has questioned not only Obama’s birthplace but also his academic and literary pedigree. He was head cheerleader of the racial “birther” lie and also cast doubt on whether Obama attended the schools he attended or even whether he wrote his acclaimed books.

Trump has lied often about Obama: saying his inauguration crowd size exceeded Obama’s, saying that Obama tapped his phones and, just this week, saying that Obama colluded with the Russians.

It’s like a 71-year-old male version of Jan from what I would call the Bratty Bunch: Obama, Obama, Obama.

Trump wants to be Obama — held in high esteem. But, alas, Trump is Trump, and that is now and has always been trashy. Trump accrued financial wealth, but he never accrued cultural capital, at least not among the people from whom he most wanted it.

President Trump heading to the White House Rose Garden on June 1, when he announced that he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times
Therefore, Trump is constantly whining about not being sufficiently applauded, commended, thanked, liked. His emotional injury is measured in his mind against Obama. How could Obama have been so celebrated while he is so reviled?

The whole world seemed to love Obama — and by extension, held America in high regard — but the world loathes Trump. A Pew Research Center report issued this week found:

“Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations. According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22 percent has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. This stands in contrast to the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when a median of 64 percent expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world.”

Obama was a phenomenon. He was elegant and cerebral. He was devoid of personal scandal and drenched in personal erudition. He was a walking, talking rebuttal to white supremacy and the myths of black pathology and inferiority. He was the personification of the possible — a possible future in which legacy power and advantages are redistributed more broadly to all with the gift of talent and the discipline to excel.

It is not a stretch here to link people’s feelings about Obama to their feelings about his blackness. Trump himself has more than once linked the two.

Just two months before Trump announced his candidacy, he weighed in on the unrest in Baltimore in the wake of the police killing of Freddie Gray, tweeting:

“Our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!”

Months earlier, following the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., after the police killing of Michael Brown, Trump complained:

“President Obama has absolutely no control (or respect) over the African American community—they have fared so poorly under his presidency.”

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“Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!”

Clearly, not only was Obama’s blackness in the front of Trump’s mind, but Trump also appears to subscribe to the racist theory that success or failure of a member of a racial group redounds to all in that group. This is a burden under which most minorities in this country labor.

Trump’s racial ideas were apparently a selling point among his supporters. Recent research has dispensed with the myth of “economic anxiety” and shone a light instead on the central importance race played in Trump’s march to the White House. As the researchers Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel reported in The Nation in March:

“In short, our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate, strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton. Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics.”

Trump was sent to Washington to strip it of all traces of Obama, to treat the Obama legacy as a historical oddity. Trump’s entire campaign was about undoing what Obama had done.

Indeed, much of what Trump has accomplished — and it hasn’t been much — has been to undo Obama’s accomplishments, like pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate agreement and reversing an Obama-era rule that helped prevent guns from being purchased by certain mentally ill people.

For Trump, even plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act aren’t so much about creating better policy as they are about dismantling Obama’s legacy. The problem with Obamacare isn’t that it hasn’t borne fruit, but rather that it bears Obama’s name.

For Trump, the mark of being a successful president is the degree to which he can expunge Obama’s presidency."


Trump’s Obama Obsession - The New York Times

The GOP’s health-care bill is political kryptonite - The Washington Post

 "We've just seen three new polls on the Senate GOP's health-care bill, and each of them paints an increasingly dire picture for Republicans.

Support for the bill is languishing between just 1 out of every 8 Americans and 1 out of every 6 Americans, according to polls from the Marist (17 percent), USA Today/Suffolk University (12 percent) and Quinnipiac University (16 percent). In each case, a majority opposes the bill. That's a level of popularity so low that it's difficult to believe the bill is being entertained.

It's all a pretty stunning indictment of the GOP's failure to sell the bill. Republicans have focused like a laser on passing the legislation quickly — and secretively — in hopes of getting to a conference committee where the House and Senate can negotiate the final product. In the meantime, the American people have soured on the bill, disliking almost everything about it.



The False Premise Behind G.O.P. Tax Cuts - The New York Times




 "With the Senate effort to upend Obamacare suspended for the Fourth of July holiday, there’s a chance to step back and examine the assumptions behind Republicans’ longstanding objections to the social safety net — as well as the flaws in those assumptions.

From Ronald Reagan’s invocation of a ‘welfare queen,’ to Mitt Romney’s derision of ‘takers,’ to the House and Senate bills to cut taxes for the rich by taking health insurance away from tens of millions of people, the premise of incessant Republican tax cutting is that the system robs the rich to lavish benefits on the poor.

But here is an essential and overlooked truth: As a share of the economy, federal spending on low-income people, other than for their health care, has been falling steadily since it peaked in 2011, after the Great Recession, and while it’s still slightly above the long-term average, it is declining, according to a recent series of reports by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Mandatory non-health programs like food stamps, earned-income tax credits and Supplemental Security Income for impoverished elderly and disabled people currently equal 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product, only modestly above the 40-year average of 1.3 percent. Moreover, if spending on those programs continues its current downward trend, it will fall below the long-run average by 2024."

(Via.).  The False Premise Behind G.O.P. Tax Cuts - The New York Times:

Trump lied: 'Saved' Carrier jobs being cut | MSNBC

Trump lied: 'Saved' Carrier jobs being cut | MSNBC

Scientist says EPA asked her to change testimony to Congress | MSNBC

Scientist says EPA asked her to change testimony to Congress | MSNBC

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How is that Trumpccare workin' for you?

Trump's ignorance about health care carries real consequences | MSNBC

Image: First Lady Melania Trump Hosts A Celebration Of MilitaryMothers Event

"A few months ago, when the House was trying to pass its far-right health care plan, Donald Trump thought some presidential pressure could help seal the deal. The president’s ignorance about the basics of the debate, however, kept getting in the way.

Politico reported in March that when the president tried to lean on the far-right House Freedom Caucus, its members found Trump charming, but it became clear “that no serious changes were going to be made” during the conversations, because “the president didn’t have sufficient command of the policy details to negotiate.”

Trump has had ample time to get up to speed in recent months, but by all appearances, he doesn’t feel like it. The president hosted a meeting yesterday with Senate Republicans – after GOP leaders scrapped a scheduled vote on the party’s far-right plan – and some came away with the impression that Trump still doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The New York Times reports today:

A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan – and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.

Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.

This isn’t a point-and-laugh-at-the-amateur-president moment. There are practical consequences to Trump’s ignorance."

Trump's ignorance about health care carries real consequences | MSNBC

Al Franken Reminds Republicans What Health Care Means

Trump Rejoices Over CNN's Commitment To Journalistic Ethics

The Health Care Hoax Has Been Exposed, Senator McConnell - The New York Times

"Senator Mitch McConnell hoped that keeping his wretched bill to destroy the Affordable Care Act secret until the last minute would make it easier for him to railroad fellow Republicans. The facts the majority leader had hoped to suppress came back to bite him on Monday when the Congressional Budget Office released a detailed review of the bill that confirmed what governors, doctors and indeed the American public had been saying for days: The bill is a cruel hoax that would help the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the poorest.

With members of his own party balking at even bringing the measure to the Senate floor, Mr. McConnell announced on Tuesday that a vote would be delayed until after the July 4 recess. A wiser course — for his party as well as the nation — would be to concede defeat and give up what now seems a desperate quest to fulfill a seven-year-old party commitment to kill an Obama-era program that, as it turns out, a large number of Americans would like to see preserved and improved.

The budget office said the measure would leave 22 million more Americans without insurance by 2026. Hit hardest would be lower-income people between the ages of 50 and 64 and people struggling with chronic illness or battling addiction — many of the same voters who believed President Trump’s promises to improve their health care. The bill would cut $772 billion over the next decade from Medicaid, which covers most of America’s poor children and nursing home patients, to help finance tax cuts for the wealthy."

The Health Care Hoax Has Been Exposed, Senator McConnell - The New York Times

Senate Trumpcare Would Leave 22 Million More Uninsured: A Closer Look

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Check In: Private Prisons

The Check In: Private Prisons

The Check In: Private Prisons

The Check In: Private Prisons

Stephen Returns From Russia With An Apology For Trump

Vote Delayed as Republicans Struggle to Marshal Support for Health Care Bill - The New York Times

Vote Delayed as Republicans Struggle to Marshal Support for Health Care Bill - The New York Times

Facing GOP opposition, Senate leaders postpone vote to overhaul Obamacare - The Washington Post

"Senate Republican leaders bowed to pressure from within their own ranks Tuesday and postponed a vote to overhaul the Affordable Care Act until after the July 4 recess, raising doubts about their ability to fulfill one of their party’s core political promises.

The delay, which now exposes lawmakers to a barrage of lobbying as they face their constituents over the holiday, has left a measure orchestrated to pass swiftly this week now teetering in the balance. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had little choice after five Senate Republicans said they could not support a move to bring up the bill this week in the wake of a new budget analysis of the bill’s impacts.

Conservatives are blasting the plan for leaving too much of the existing law in place, while a coalition of patient advocates, doctors and senior citizens’ groups have joined Democrats in decrying its proposed cuts to the Medicaid program and rollback of taxes imposed on the wealthy.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, McConnell said leaders were “still working to get 50 people in a more comfortable place” on what he described as “a very complicated subject.”

Facing GOP opposition, Senate leaders postpone vote to overhaul Obamacare - The Washington Post

Franken: This Health Bill Is Worse Than Mean; It's Cruel | Morning Joe |...

Was America Ever Great? Not all young people are clueless.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Supreme Court partially restores Trump travel ban, which wouldn’t have kept out those behind fatal terrorist attacks - The Washington Post

 "President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travelers from six Muslim-majority nations due to “heightened concerns about terrorism” was quickly frozen by the courts, much like an earlier version of the ban, until the Supreme Court acted on Monday.

The justices said they would let the ban partially take effect and, in the ruling, announced plans to consider the case later this year. The Supreme Court made a key exception, saying the ban could not be “enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” But otherwise, the Trump administration is now free to impose a 90-day ban on travelers from six countries that it had said posed certain “national security risks.”

Supreme Court partially restores Trump travel ban, which wouldn’t have kept out those behind fatal terrorist attacks - The Washington Post

Obama’s response to Russian interference: He did his job. His cautious response to Russian interference protected our democracy. By William Saletan


 "Did President Obama blow the 2016 election? Should he have spoken up sooner and louder about Russia’s interference? That’s what many Democrats are wondering, particularly after reading the Washington Post’s latest investigative report on Obama’s reticent response to the Russian attack. A former official tells the Post that after the election, Obama’s aides, ‘mortified’ by Donald Trump’s victory, thought to themselves: ‘Wow, did we mishandle this.

There’s plenty to second-guess in Obama’s management of this episode. But the idea that he failed because Trump won is wrong. Obama’s job wasn’t to prevent the election of a particular person, even one as awful as Trump. Obama’s job was to preserve the country. That meant protecting the integrity of our elections and public faith in them, which he did, to the extent possible after Russia had already hacked into the Democratic National Committee and spread misinformation. The next task—exposing the full extent of Russia’s interference, punishing it, and deterring future attacks—is up to Trump. If he fails, the responsibility to hold him accountable falls to Congress. And if Congress fails, the job of electing a new, more patriotic legislature falls to voters.

According to the U.S. intelligence community’s Jan. 6 assessment, Vladimir Putin’s long-term goal in directing the interference campaign was to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.” Obama responded accordingly. “We set out from a first-order principle that required us to defend the integrity of the vote,” Obama’s former chief of staff, Denis McDonough, told the Post. Russia’s hacks and leaks were bad, but corruption of voter rolls and election tallies would be far worse. So the Obama administration focused on alerting state officials, fortifying cyberdefenses, and privately threatening Russia with retaliation.

Why didn’t Obama raise public alarms about Russian infiltration? Because that might have backfired. “Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged,” says the Post. “Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia’s efforts to discredit the outcome.” According to the paper, Obama and his team “worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign.” Rather than speak up when the CIA first warned him about Putin’s moves, Obama waited for “a high-confidence assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies on Russia’s role and intent.” He asked congressional Republicans to join him in cautioning citizens and state election officials. You can argue that this was politically na├»ve. But Obama wasn’t playing politics. He was trying to unite the country.

The Post story shows how blinders warped behavior on all sides. Many Republicans saw Obama and Hillary Clinton as greater threats than Putin. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell resisted Obama’s pleas to warn the public about Russian interference, “voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims.” Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, unconvinced that Russia was involved in the election, dismissed Obama’s outreach to states about election cybersecurity as “a politically calculated move.”

Obama, too, allowed himself to be manipulated. Critics think his “determination to avoid politicizing the Russia issue had the opposite effect,” says the Post. “It meant that he allowed politics to shape his administration’s response to what some believed should have been treated purely as a national security threat.” Obama’s aides, for their part, were misled by the expectation that Clinton would win. They worried about disrupting her march to victory and “contaminating the expected Clinton triumph” by hyping the possibility of ballot sabotage. They also assumed the next administration would want to punish Putin. One official told the Post: “We made the judgment that we had ample time after the election, regardless of outcome, for punitive measures.”

It’s easy to fault Obama and his team for these blinders. But we don’t know what would have happened had he acted differently. If he had raised a stink before the intelligence community reached a consensus, or if he had warned the public explicitly that Russia was trying to help Trump, imagine the outrage. It’s quite plausible that Trump would have won—perhaps even coming out ahead in the popular vote—and Democrats would now be castigating Obama for ruining everything.

Obama and his aides wrongly assumed the next administration would punish Russia, that’s true. But what the anonymous Obama official told the Post—that there would be “ample time after the election, regardless of outcome, for punitive measures”—is also true. Holding Putin accountable and deterring him from future aggression isn’t Obama’s job. It’s Trump’s.

Putin sought to hurt Clinton and help Trump. That’s clear in the intelligence community’s Jan. 6 assessment. But in the heat of the election, Clinton was poorly positioned to make that case. So was Obama, her benefactor and fellow Democrat. The most credible messengers would have been Republicans. The most credible of all, to this day, would be Trump. Nothing in Trump’s history suggests he has the moral comprehension or will to speak the truth about what Putin did, much less to confront him. But every president must be held to a presidential standard.

Obama met that standard. He focused on protecting democracy, not on electing Clinton. He did this so that an American republic could be passed to his successor. Trump’s duty is to safeguard that inheritance. McConnell and other Republicans, having refused to speak publicly about Russian meddling before the election, owe it to their country to uncover the full of extent of what happened.   That’s what makes Trump’s efforts to derail the FBI’s Russia investigation, and Republican attempts to excuse this sabotage, so treasonous. Trump has repaid Obama’s patriotism by rewarding and protecting Putin. Trump refuses to concede that Russia was behind the election hack. He has tried to loosen, not tighten, sanctions on Russia. He has invited Russia’s foreign minister to the White House and assured him, in a meeting closed to the press, that by firing Comey, Trump relieved “pressure” on the U.S.-Russia relationship.

The Russia investigation was never about Russia. It was, and is, about America. It’s about whether you put your country before a partisan or personal agenda. It’s about understanding that America isn’t just a plot of land. It’s an idea. We elect our leaders, our leaders follow rules, and they represent all of us. Obama was determined to preserve that idea, even at the risk of relinquishing the White House to Trump. The successor who betrayed him—and us—is unworthy of his office.

(Via.).  Obama’s response to Russian interference: He did his job.:

Why are Democrats attacking Nancy Pelosi? Have the Democrats internalized messaging about Nancy Pelosi that originated with the Republican party? Joy Reid and her panel debate this, and what’s really behind recent party losses. AM Joy on MSNBC


AM Joy on MSNBC: ""

Senate Leaders Try to Appease Members as Support for Health Bill Slips - The New York Times



"WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill as opposition continued to build inside and outside Congress, and as several Republican senators questioned whether it would be approved this week.

President Trump expressed confidence that the bill to repeal the guts of the Affordable Care Act would pass.

“Health care is a very, very tough thing to get,” Mr. Trump said in an interview shown Sunday on Fox News. “But I think we’re going to get it. We don’t have too much of a choice because the alternative is the dead carcass of Obamacare.”

With Democrats solidly opposed to the legislation, Senate Republicans must find the votes from within. They can afford to lose only two votes, but five Republican senators have announced that they cannot support the health care bill as drafted, and others have expressed concerns.
Senate leaders have been trying to lock down Republican votes by funneling money to red states, engineering a special deal for Alaska and arguing that they could insure more people at a lower cost than the House, which passed a repeal bill last month

Senate Leaders Try to Appease Members as Support for Health Bill Slips - The New York Times: ""

Morning Joe - Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, & Willie Geist - #LiarInChief #ResistanceIsFutile Trump is both deceptive and a liar. Trump knew about Russian hacking and continues to lie about it. He was briefed about Russian hacking of the election in August of 2016.

Morning Joe - Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, & Willie Geist

Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bacon's Rebellion and Racial Slavery, Caste and Class in America | History Revived

Bacon's Rebellion and it's aftermath is central to understanding race in America.  It explains why racism is permanent, as was persuasively argued by Professor Derrick Bell in " Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism". White Privilege is literally a "property right", created after the rebellion with the purpose of dividing poor Whites from all Blacks by establishing a caste system which has morphed as the American economic system evolved. From chattel slavery to peonage slavery (ended by Attorney General Circular 3591, December 12th 1941),  legal segregation (ended by the Civil Rights Act of 1964) de Facto segregation and the New Jim Crow (The Prison Industrial Complex) which exits today.  Each system was transformed by a change in the economy caused by technology along with the concurrent evolution of media technology which required plausible deniability to sustain the societal hierarchy.  Wealthy Whites dating from those who hung Bacon and his confederates through Donald Trump and Paul Ryan have used this property right to demonize Blacks, Indigenous Americans, Hispanics, Irish, Jews, as well as Muslims as tool "Dog Whistle Politics" to maintain a malleable class structure in America.

John H Armwood

Nearly every African who arrived in British North America did so as a slave or an indentured servant.  Since many of the first black arrivals were baptized[1] and English law forbid enslavement of baptized individuals, the legal status of Africans in Virginia was somewhat fluid.  However, their social status was never in doubt.  Africans were treated substantially worse than the English colonists, but better than hostile Indians.
One key event in 17th century changed the relationship of Africans to the British state: Bacon’s Rebellion.  In 1676 several frontiersmen aggressively protested the Governor, William Berkley, and his refusal to launch reprisal attacks against hostile (to the colonists) Natives.  Relations between natives and colonists had been growing progressively worse in 1670s and Berkley was trying to eliminate costs while building peace with the Indians.  Soon the frontier rebellion expanded into a popular uprising led by aristocrat Nathaniel Bacon.  Bacon was a populist who wanted Berkley’s job and was soon the figurehead of the movement.
Initially put down by mercenaries, the uprising evolved into greater resistance.  Instead of just frontiersmen demanding protection the rebellion turned a social corner.  Poorly treated African Americans (meant in the truest sense), indentured servants[2], and the poor farmers of the region united and demanded better treatment under colonial rule.  The “dregs” of society uniting terrified the Governor who sent for Royal soldiers while even Bacon grew worried over the potential for change.
Over the next several years, British soldiers defeated Bacon’s forces, (killing Bacon and others), and restored Royal rule over the Virginian colony.  When it comes to black history, however, the main effect was the end of indentured servitude.  The ruling class in Virginia was terrified of white and black servants uniting and changed the hardened the slave policy along racial lines.  No more would white and black people serve together on the lowest rung; from now on black labor would be the only stolen labor.
The hardening of racial labor occurred across British North America.  Bacon’s Rebellion was the most famous event, but uprisings occurred throughout the colonies.  From Massachusetts to Georgia by the end of the 17th century black men and women were the only people officially enslaved.

Stealing Labor
What is fascinating (but largely ignored) is that black labor created the opportunity for the fantastic growth of the American economy throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.  For most of this country’s early history there was a very real disparity between land and population.  The most economically effective strategy for this was massed stolen labor.  Black slaves grew cotton, cleared land for houses or farms, planted/grew/harvested huge amounts of food stocks, and provided the opportunity for white owners to invest the huge sums in larger projects and other opportunities.  Obviously this was done without the agreement of the enslaved individuals.
Created Wealth
But think about it.  Beautiful buildings like Monticello, Mount Vernon, Stagville, much of Newport and Boston were funded almost entirely through the wealth created through slave labor.  When people say today that slavery was an economically defunct system they are wrong.  Slavery created huge amounts of wealth and very little cost to the investor (the owner).  The real cost, however, came in the enslavement, abuse, rape and murder of African men and women, and in the transformation of owners by the brutality of slave ownership.  It must be remembered that slavery—at the time—throughout the world, was not seen as immoral or illegal.
So, during this Black History Month, when you are reading an article about George Washington Carver[3] or Charles Richard Drew,[4] that black history is more than inventions and social revolutions.  Through their labor and effort (though not their assent) much of this nation’s wealth was built.  

[1] Spanish and Portuguese policy was to baptize slaves before shipping them to the New World, and in the early 17thcentury Iberians controlled much of the slave trade.
[2] Indentured servants were oftentimes treated worse than slaves.  In a slave the master is encouraged to feed and clothe them so the laborer survived.  With indentured servants, on a seven year contract, if they died in year five the master lost little.
[3] An agricultural alchemist, Carver invented 400 different kinds of food. 
[4] Invented the blood bank.  Changed the treatment 
Bacon's Rebellion and Racial Slavery | History Revived

‘They’re sentencing me to death’: Medicaid recipients on the Republican healthcare plan | US news | The Guardian

If the Republican healthcare plan passes, Donald Trump will break a pledge he made as a candidate to protect Medicaid from spending cuts.

They’re sentencing me to death’: Medicaid recipients on the Republican healthcare plan | US news | The Guardian

Will losing health insurance mean more US deaths? Experts say yes | US news | The Guardian - #ResistanceIsNotFutile These Republicans are evil, as my maternal grandmother would say; "they'ere the devil"

Disability advocates hold a protest outside the office of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on 22 June. Senate Republicans have released their draft healthcare bill.

Will losing health insurance mean more US deaths? Experts say yes | US news | The Guardian

Dumb, Ignorant And Just Plain Stupid - Rick Perry wrongly downplays human role in climate change

Senate Health Care Bill Includes Deep Cuts to Medicaid - The New York Times

Please read this horrible bill!

"WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, who for seven years have promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, took a major step on Thursday toward that goal, unveiling a bill to make deep cuts in Medicaid and end the law’s mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

The 142-page bill would create a new system of federal tax credits to help people buy health insurance, while offering states the ability to drop many of the benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, like maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment.

But the measure landed in rough seas ahead of a vote that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, wants next week. Four conservative senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, announced that they would oppose it without changes — more than enough to bring it down.

“It does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs,” the four wrote in a joint statement.

Other Republican senators, like Dean Heller of Nevada and Rob Portman of Ohio, expressed their own qualms, as did AARP, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“We are extremely disappointed by the Senate bill released today,” the medical school association wrote. “Despite promises to the contrary, it will leave millions of people without health coverage, and others with only bare-bones plans that will be insufficient to properly address their needs.”

Once promised as a top-to-bottom revamp of the health bill passed by the House last month, the Senate bill instead maintains its structure, with modest adjustments. The Senate version is, in some respects, more moderate than the House bill, offering more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.

But the Senate bill would make subsidies less generous than under current law. It would also lower the annual income limit for receiving subsidies to cover insurance premiums to 350 percent of the poverty level, or about $42,000 for an individual, from 400 percent.

Older people could be disproportionately hurt because they pay more for insurance in general. Both chambers’ bills would allow insurers to charge older people five times as much as younger ones; the limit now is three times.

The Senate measure, like the House bill, would phase out the extra money that the federal government has provided to states as an incentive to expand eligibility for Medicaid. And like the House bill, it would put the entire Medicaid program on a budget, ending the open-ended entitlement that now exists.

It would also repeal most of the tax increases imposed by the Affordable Care Act to help pay for expanded coverage, in effect handing a broad tax cut to the affluent in a measure that would also slice billions of dollars from Medicaid, a program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but also almost two-thirds of people in nursing homes. A capital-gains tax cut for the most affluent Americans would be retroactive to the beginning of this year.

The bill, drafted in secret, is likely to come to the Senate floor next week, and could come to a vote after 20 hours of debate.

If it passes, President Trump and the Republican Congress will be on the edge of a major overhaul of the American health care system — about one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

Senate Health Care Bill Includes Deep Cuts to Medicaid - The New York Times