Trump’s getting his extremist choices in Republican primaries. That’s bad news for his party.

As Donald Trump uses his position as Supreme Glorious Leader of the Republican Party to weigh in on individual state governor races, two questions remain. The first is whether he’s even making a difference; that’s not clear. Trump has tended to back one Republican primary candidate over another late in each race, when the outcome has largely been baked in, and some observers have dismissed his endorsements as being more focused on riding the likely winner’s coattails than on anything else.

The second question is whether Trump’s predictable advocacy for whichever Republican has humped his leg the most recently is going to further exacerbate his party’s bleak election chances in November. That one is easier to answer: Yes. Yes, it will.

With Trump’s approval ratings in the low 40s and a high-energy Democratic base, Republicans were already expected to lose governorships in the fall, especially in blue-tinted states like Maine

Continue reading “Trump’s getting his extremist choices in Republican primaries. That’s bad news for his party.”

LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank

Do we even have laws anymore? It hardly matters what voters vote for if Republican politicians are simply going to ignore the laws they pass out of spite.

The LePage administration is rejecting applications for Medicaid from people who became newly eligible for the program under an expansion approved by voters last fall, according to documents and a progressive advocacy group that is suing the state.

Maine’s LePage is a prime example of a law-averse crackpot politician who in better times would have been run out of town on a rail by better people; in this case his administration has simply decided that no matter what measures voters approve they’re going to ignore it. Right now LePage and allies are appealing a court decision requiring them to Follow The Damn Law, an effort that appears to be nothing more than an effort to delay an inevitable outcome but, what the

Continue reading “LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank”

Donald Trump’s favorite lie: All my invisible friends think I am doing super-great

The “president” of the United States is such a shameless liar that there is now an entire media beat dedicated to individual sub-categories of his lies. Among his more predictable tics: the famous I have a girlfriend in Canada, but you wouldn’t know her routine. He wants everyone to know that he just talked to a guy who talked to a guy who is just so damn supportive of everything Trump is doing but, um, you wouldn’t know him. The name isn’t important, after all. Or the company. Or whether or not Donald can only see him after doing three lines of cocaine.

Bloomberg is the latest outlet to chronicle some of Donald’s imaginary friends. Each of them is a variation of, well, this.

“I was with one of the greatest companies in the world. The chief executive officer. Very short while ago. And it really affects him,” Trump said

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Melania Trump briefly thawed from cryogenic sleep to talk about cyberbullying again

Do you spend your days wondering what First Lady Melania Trump is doing? Do you anxiously scan the papers to see what causes the wife of Donald Trump, the grifter and traitor to his nation currently acting as grand ruler of the Republican Party and, when his staff can coax him into it, occasionally pretending at being “president,” is lending her name to?

Yeah, well too bad. If I have to read these insufferable press releases then I’m taking you with me.

The First Lady will attend the sixth FPBP Summit on Cyberbullying in Rockville, Maryland.  Mrs. Trump will deliver brief remarks addressing the positive and negative effects of social media on youth – a key issue of her Be Best campaign.  The First Lady will also attend a panel discussion with representatives from multiple social media platforms.

That’s right, kids, on the heels of the last eleventy different Donald Trump

Continue reading “Melania Trump briefly thawed from cryogenic sleep to talk about cyberbullying again”

The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies

The public is not buying the Republican spin on their new would-be “tax plan.” They’re not buying the spin at all.

But nearly 60 percent of people believe corporations won’t “use that money to create jobs,” according to the CBS poll. […]
The plurality of respondents — 39 percent — say they don’t have an opinion about whether the tax plan is good or bad, according to NBC/WSJ. Just over one-third said it’s a bad idea, and 25 percent said it’s a good idea. […]

CBS found that 58 percent of Americans believe taxes on the wealthy should be higher.

This is polling that took place before the details of the bill were even revealed. Now that Republicans have presented it, however, it’s not just voter opinion that Republicans will need to reckon with; the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth is furious it didn’t go far enough

Continue reading “The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies”

The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies

The public is not buying the Republican spin on their new would-be “tax plan.” They’re not buying the spin at all.

But nearly 60 percent of people believe corporations won’t “use that money to create jobs,” according to the CBS poll. […]
The plurality of respondents — 39 percent — say they don’t have an opinion about whether the tax plan is good or bad, according to NBC/WSJ. Just over one-third said it’s a bad idea, and 25 percent said it’s a good idea. […]

CBS found that 58 percent of Americans believe taxes on the wealthy should be higher.

This is polling that took place before the details of the bill were even revealed. Now that Republicans have presented it, however, it’s not just voter opinion that Republicans will need to reckon with; the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth is furious it didn’t go far enough

Continue reading “The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies”

Donald Trump is not ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘inconsistent.’ Donald Trump is a liar, and incompetent

The efforts to tiptoe around the plain evidence that Donald Trump is a racist, lying, possibly dementia-riddled sack of shit continue.

President Trump campaigned as one of the world’s greatest dealmakers, but after nine months of struggling to broker agreements, lawmakers in both parties increasingly consider him an untrustworthy, chronically inconsistent and easily distracted negotiator.

Because he is. He just is—there is no consider involved here. He is transparently unaware of the details of even his own would-be priorities. He lies extensively and about everything. He contradicts his own prior statements with such regularity that he genuinely appears to have no ability to distinguish between reality and fiction. There was a point at which we could charitably have considered him a mere incompetent; that point has long past.

The president’s propensity to create diversions and follow tangents has kept him from focusing on his legislative agenda and forced lawmakers who might

Continue reading “Donald Trump is not ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘inconsistent.’ Donald Trump is a liar, and incompetent”

Trump administration bars government scientists from speaking at climate change conference

Under Donald Blowhard Trump, Republican thought leaders continue implementing their lifelong dream of kicking objective reality in the shins because reasons.

The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.
John Konkus, an E.P.A. spokesman and a former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that agency scientists would not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation.

The “former Trump campaign operative” is of course sufficient explanation on its own. As for what the scientists are being barred from discussing:

Scientists there will unveil the report on the state of [Narragansett Bay], which E.P.A. scientists helped research and write. Among the findings will be that climate change is affecting air

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Georgia legislator says she was trying to be ‘provocative’ with HIV ‘quarantine’ comments

Ah, the old “I was just trying to be edgy” defense.

Betty Price, the wife of former HHS Secretary Tom Price, is defending her comment about quarantining people with HIV as an attempt to be provocative about a public health crisis. […]
“I made a provocative and rhetorical comment as part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context.” she said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday.

In that aforementioned free-flowing conversation, Price had mentioned “quarantine” and noted how Americans with HIV are not dying as “readily” as they once did.

“It seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers, well not carriers, with the potential to spread, whereas in the past they died more readily and at that point they are not posing a risk. So we’ve got a huge

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White House’s top white nationalist could become Trump’s new communications director

Last week Trump’s White House sent senior “policy” adviser Stephen Miller before the nation’s cameras to give a press briefing on the White House’s newest immigration “policy” theories. His answers were peppered with dog whistles and talking points promoted by white supremacists. It was a bizarre performance by the dead-eyed policy adviser of no particular qualifications, but his hostile demeanor and insult-laden responses appear to be exactly what Trump wants to see in front of the cameras.

And so all grow’d up Children of the Corn extra Stephen Miller finds himself on the list of potential Scaramucci successors, as Trump and team ponder whether to make him—and this is apparently a legitimate story and not an Onionesque satire—the new White House communications director.

Steve Bannon likes the idea of Miller for the job, and Miller was the hero of the West Wing after he attacked Acosta as a “cosmopolitan” for

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Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals

Two allies of Pope Francis have authored an article taking aim at ultraconservative American Catholics for teaming up with American evangelicals in an alliance of “hate.” The essay argues that hard-line Catholics in America are too fixated on divisive political battles that represent “a poor and abusive perversion” of religious experience. Honestly, if you can get past some of the more formal language, it’s a pretty satisfying read in the sense that it represents a “shot across the bow” from the Vatican at American fundamentalism. The New York Times writes:

The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed

Continue reading “Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals”

Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals

Two allies of Pope Francis have authored an article taking aim at ultraconservative American Catholics for teaming up with American evangelicals in an alliance of “hate.” The essay argues that hard-line Catholics in America are too fixated on divisive political battles that represent “a poor and abusive perversion” of religious experience. Honestly, if you can get past some of the more formal language, it’s a pretty satisfying read in the sense that it represents a “shot across the bow” from the Vatican at American fundamentalism. The New York Times writes:

The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed

Continue reading “Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals”

Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals

Two allies of Pope Francis have authored an article taking aim at ultraconservative American Catholics for teaming up with American evangelicals in an alliance of “hate.” The essay argues that hard-line Catholics in America are too fixated on divisive political battles that represent “a poor and abusive perversion” of religious experience. Honestly, if you can get past some of the more formal language, it’s a pretty satisfying read in the sense that it represents a “shot across the bow” from the Vatican at American fundamentalism. The New York Times writes:

The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed

Continue reading “Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals”

Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals

Two allies of Pope Francis have authored an article taking aim at ultraconservative American Catholics for teaming up with American evangelicals in an alliance of “hate.” The essay argues that hard-line Catholics in America are too fixated on divisive political battles that represent “a poor and abusive perversion” of religious experience. Honestly, if you can get past some of the more formal language, it’s a pretty satisfying read in the sense that it represents a “shot across the bow” from the Vatican at American fundamentalism. The New York Times writes:

The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed

Continue reading “Vatican frowns on alliance of ‘hate’ between hard-line American Catholics and evangelicals”

Senate leader Mitch McConnell goes to war—against fellow Republicans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t fire the first shot in his war with hardline Alabama conservatives, but he’s going to make damn sure he gives ten times as much pain as he receives. McConnell has tasked himself with defending newly appointed Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, who may or may not be crooked, against Strange’s even harder-right Republican primary opponents, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks and the Talibanesque yet-again-former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore. If that means emptying his super PAC’s coffers against the pair and sabotaging whatever existing base of power they have, so be it.

[I]n a highly unusual step, one of McConnell’s top political lieutenants has begun quietly advising a long-shot Republican primary candidate running for Brooks’ House seat. The move is designed to get in the congressman’s head and dissuade him from emptying his campaign war chest in the race for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’

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House Republican Chris Collins: ‘This has been a great week’ for Trump!

Let’s check in with House Republicans to see if Donald Trump’s Bud Light Lime Hold My Beer And Watch This Worst Week Ever, Poochie Plus One Edition is making any of them rethink their unwavering support for a barely functioning idiot manchild with a moon-sized ego and the management skills of a rabid squirrel duct-taped to a Roomba and set loose in the Roosevelt Room.

How do you rate Trump’s week, stalwart Trump supporter Rep. Chris Collins?

“This has been a great week for the President,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), a staunch Trump ally, said on CNN Monday morning.
“I was at the jamboree, you know, 40,000 Boy Scouts shouting ‘We love Trump, we love Trump.’ Banning transgenders, which is probably supported by the vast majority of Americans,” he said. […]

“On Friday we were in New York City talking about ms-13 (gangs), something that is the scourge

Continue reading “House Republican Chris Collins: ‘This has been a great week’ for Trump!”

Latest House Republican effort to derail Trump-Russia investigation cribbed from conspiracy group

Gone almost unnoticed during last week’s healthcare battles, House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee last Wednesday pulled the latest in their ongoing effort to block investigation of Russian election hacking and its potential connections to the Donald Trump campaign and administration. Specifically, they blocked a Democratic amendment asking for more information about the firing of FBI Director James Comey, replacing it instead with an amendment demanding more investigation of … Hillary Clinton.

By the next evening, Twitter sleuths had identified where the text of that House Republican amendment had been cribbed from: a pro-Trump Reddit conspiracy subgroup.

Thursday night, three Twitter users discovered that a staffer for one of the resolution’s sponsors attempted to crowdsource a number of the resolution’s salient points from r/The_Donald, a subreddit notorious for playing host to unfounded conspiracy theories and anti-Islam tendencies. In other words, not a conventional source of legislative inspiration.

The frequent r/The_Donald visitor

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Get ready: ALEC plans to bring their brand of legislation-by-lobbyist to your own city council

The American Legislative Exchange Council is the most influential “conservative” business interest group in America. They write “model legislation” that is then distributed to various hard-right state legislators, who reliably cross out the ALEC logos and present the legislation in their own names. Throughout the entire process everyone pretends each bit of legislation is about “freedom” when in fact they are most typically the result of industry lobbyists writing down client wishlists to be laundered through the “Council” as a means for giving plausible deniability to elected officials enacting them.

The group is now seeking to expand their reach into the nation’s individual cities, which are considered entirely too liberal these days. The model for how to do it remains the same: Have industry lobbyists write the legislation, wrap it with some conservative-sounding phrases, and see which suckers might bite.

Though the group is still young, it’s notched some significant

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The new number two in the Interior Department: A lobbyist against environmental protections

Even in the context of Donald Trump’s other anti-government, pro-corporate hires, his choice of industry lobbyist David Bernhardt for the No. 2 position in the Department of the Interior is remarkably cynical.

Bernhardt, who ran the natural resources department at lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has spent the last several years working on behalf of oil and gas companies and large agribusiness to weaken environmental protections.

His lobbying appears to have continued into this current year:

The Campaign for Accountability accused Bernhardt of continuing to lobby for a client, the Westlands Water District in California, after withdrawing his registration as a lobbyist last November, the Washington Post reported Friday. In a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate the claim, the group contended Bernhardt edited a draft executive order for then-President-elect Donald Trump involving water issues that stood to benefit Westlands Water.

The suggestion here is

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Failed Gov. Sam Brownback to flee Kansas for a job as a Trump ‘ambassador at large’

Having driven the Kansas budget into a ditch by taking all of the Republican trickle-down nonsense conservative think tanks have long been demanding and stupidly putting it into practice, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is getting the hell out of Dodge—well, Topeka—and the $1 billion budget shortfall his policies created. After being reelected last November despite all of that, he’ll be quitting the job early and fleeing the state in the only getaway car he or Trump could come up with.

I mean, this is just sad.

President Donald Trump announced Brownback’s appointment as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom Wednesday evening. Brownback had long been expected to be named to the post.

So, not even an ambassadorship to an actual country, but an ambassador-at-large position for the abstract concept of “religious freedom”, Republican-style. Sam Brownback, hapless destroyer of conservative economic propaganda, is now going off to stump for a new version of

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