House Republicans introduce amendments to defund the Congressional Budget Office

Faced with medical evidence that our nation’s epidemic of gun violence is, in fact, preventable, conservative lawmakers passed laws barring the nation’s government from investigating such things. Faced with mounting scientific evidence of global climate change, conservatives in various states have proposed or passed numerous restrictions on state governments developing plans to prepare for those changes.

So it stands to reason that when faced with the seemingly self-evident news that slashing Medicaid and undoing restrictions on which patients can be unceremoniously dumped by their insurers would, in fact, have the predictable effect of uninsuring millions, conservative House Republicans are introducing legislation to defund the Congressional Budget Office’s analysts and bar the agency from reporting such things in the future.

An amendment filed Monday by Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) would eliminate the agency’s Budget Analysis Division, cutting 89 jobs and $15 million of the CBO’s proposed $48.5 million budget.

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Open thread for night owls: Goodbye to Sean Spicer, who was never one of the ‘good ones’

As longtime political hands react to the news of Spicer’s sudden retirement from the Trump White House with claims of an integrity on Spicer’s part that was never once evinced during his brief tenure—usually formulated with the assertion that Spicer is, in so many words, “one of the good ones”, let us take a moment to recognize that no, in fact, he was not. He was one of the bad ones. He was one of the worst sorts of political figures, one who would say anything that he was asked to say and gaslight whichever of his fellow Americans his momentary patron had tasked him with gaslighting. He did willful harm to his country for the sake of a temporary job and a temporary paycheck, and should be treated accordingly for the rest of his now-degraded life.

Jack Shafer:

The White House attracts all manner of toadies, suckups and flatterers

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Continue reading “Open thread for night owls: Goodbye to Sean Spicer, who was never one of the ‘good ones’”

Open thread for night owls: Goodbye to Sean Spicer, who was never one of the ‘good ones’

As longtime political hands react to the news of Spicer’s sudden retirement from the Trump White House with claims of an integrity on Spicer’s part that was never once evinced during his brief tenure—usually formulated with the assertion that Spicer is, in so many words, “one of the good ones”, let us take a moment to recognize that no, in fact, he was not. He was one of the bad ones. He was one of the worst sorts of political figures, one who would say anything that he was asked to say and gaslight whichever of his fellow Americans his momentary patron had tasked him with gaslighting. He did willful harm to his country for the sake of a temporary job and a temporary paycheck, and should be treated accordingly for the rest of his now-degraded life.

Jack Shafer:

The White House attracts all manner of toadies, suckups and flatterers

Organize-Fish-eating-fish_NoTEXT_BlueRed.jpg
Screen_Shot_2017-07-23_at_3.45.16_PM.png
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Continue reading “Open thread for night owls: Goodbye to Sean Spicer, who was never one of the ‘good ones’”

Trump’s HUD turns a blind eye to housing segregation—and yes, it may benefit Trump’s own business

It turns out that hiring your family’s event planner and/or Vice President of the Eric Trump Foundation for a high-level spot in the government’s Housing and Urban Development agency may not lead to competent government decision-making.

Lynne Patton, a former event planner for the Trump family whose nomination to a HUD position drew criticism from policy experts and housing advocates last month, reversed HUD’s position on Westchester’s zoning laws on Tuesday. The agency had rejected 10 previous versions of the county’s “Analysis of Impediments,” a document which HUD grantees must submit to demonstrate their use of taxpayer money will not get spent into systems that tacitly reinforce racial segregation in housing.
Westchester’s fight with HUD originated from a lawsuit brought by the Anti-Discrimination Center. The county struck a settlement with HUD in 2009, but has failed to comply fully with it for close to a decade.

Despite being once again rejected just last April, Westchester

Continue reading “Trump’s HUD turns a blind eye to housing segregation—and yes, it may benefit Trump’s own business”

Trump’s HUD turns a blind eye to housing segregation—and yes, it may benefit Trump’s own business

It turns out that hiring your family’s event planner and/or Vice President of the Eric Trump Foundation for a high-level spot in the government’s Housing and Urban Development agency may not lead to competent government decision-making.

Lynne Patton, a former event planner for the Trump family whose nomination to a HUD position drew criticism from policy experts and housing advocates last month, reversed HUD’s position on Westchester’s zoning laws on Tuesday. The agency had rejected 10 previous versions of the county’s “Analysis of Impediments,” a document which HUD grantees must submit to demonstrate their use of taxpayer money will not get spent into systems that tacitly reinforce racial segregation in housing.
Westchester’s fight with HUD originated from a lawsuit brought by the Anti-Discrimination Center. The county struck a settlement with HUD in 2009, but has failed to comply fully with it for close to a decade.

Despite being once again rejected just last April, Westchester

Continue reading “Trump’s HUD turns a blind eye to housing segregation—and yes, it may benefit Trump’s own business”

Trump’s HUD turns a blind eye to housing segregation—and yes, it may benefit Trump’s own business

It turns out that hiring your family’s event planner and/or Vice President of the Eric Trump Foundation for a high-level spot in the government’s Housing and Urban Development agency may not lead to competent government decision-making.

Lynne Patton, a former event planner for the Trump family whose nomination to a HUD position drew criticism from policy experts and housing advocates last month, reversed HUD’s position on Westchester’s zoning laws on Tuesday. The agency had rejected 10 previous versions of the county’s “Analysis of Impediments,” a document which HUD grantees must submit to demonstrate their use of taxpayer money will not get spent into systems that tacitly reinforce racial segregation in housing.
Westchester’s fight with HUD originated from a lawsuit brought by the Anti-Discrimination Center. The county struck a settlement with HUD in 2009, but has failed to comply fully with it for close to a decade.

Despite being once again rejected just last April, Westchester

Continue reading “Trump’s HUD turns a blind eye to housing segregation—and yes, it may benefit Trump’s own business”

It’s slowly dawning on Republicans that Trump just might be the worst president ever

All is not well in Republicanville. No matter how slavish the Fox News segments become, it ain’t working; it is slowly dawning on powerful Republicans that the president they are so dutifully protecting and sucking up to may, in fact, be an idiot.

Trump’s struggles go beyond health care. More than six months into Trump’s presidency, Republicans have no legislative accomplishments other than the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a confusing foreign policy, and a White House that is perpetually in damage-control mode. From lawmakers and governors to donors and foreign policy experts, a certain realization is sinking in within the party, based on more than a dozen interviews in recent days: Donald Trump has been a historically weak and ineffective president.

That it took six months to start wondering whether the man who talked about grabbing women, who discussed his penis size during a presidential debate, who

Continue reading “It’s slowly dawning on Republicans that Trump just might be the worst president ever”

Trump White House prepares visual aides for press briefing in which cameras are barred

The White House continues to bar television cameras from their press briefings because Donald Trump gets too agitated when he watches them. Why the White House is now bringing visual aides to those no-cameras-allowed briefings, however, is a mystery.

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That’s AP reporter Jonathan Lemire, bringing us an impromptu snap of what the White House demands the American public be … barred from seeing. And it didn’t end there: While Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein took a few stills herself during the briefing before apparently deleting them, the White House presentation on, ahem, “MAGAnomics” also featured, she says, “stacks of federal registers from Obama & Trump admins. Would have been more effective for WH on video.”

Alas, however, we may never know what “MAGAnomics” is intended to mean. Making America Great-nomics appears to mean

Continue reading “Trump White House prepares visual aides for press briefing in which cameras are barred”

Trump appears to be serious in his efforts to defeat insufficiently loyal Republican Sen. Jeff Flake

It’s beginning to look like Trump’s determination to screw Republican Sen. Jeff Flake may be more than just talk; his White House has been meeting with several of the Republicans mentioned as possible primary challengers.

Since taking office, Trump has spoken with Arizona state Treasurer Jeff DeWit, a top official on his 2016 campaign, on at least two occasions, according to two sources familiar with the talks. More recently, since June, White House officials have also had discussions with former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who has announced her bid, and former Arizona GOP Chairman Robert Graham, who like DeWit is exploring a campaign.

Trump has carried a grudge against Flake because Flake didn’t back him in the election. Trump’s allies have carried a grudge against Flake because disloyalty to Trump cannot possibly be tolerated, no matter what Trump has done or what the previous Republican stance on such things has

Continue reading “Trump appears to be serious in his efforts to defeat insufficiently loyal Republican Sen. Jeff Flake”

Trump says he’ll ‘let Obamacare fail’: ‘I’m not going to own it’

In televised presidential remarks that can only be described as pouting and pissy, Donald Trump declared that in the wake of Senate Republicans’ failure to advance legislation repealing Obamacare he will now “let Obamacare fail.”

From a transcript:

I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats will come to us and say how do we fix it, how do we fix it, or how do we come up with a new plan.

Whether or not this means Trump will use the powers of his office to sabotage healthcare exchanges by withholding subsidy payments from insurers—which would have a catastrophic effect on Americans insured through those programs—is unclear. If he did, the loss

Continue reading “Trump says he’ll ‘let Obamacare fail’: ‘I’m not going to own it’”

Trump says he’ll ‘let Obamacare fail’: ‘I’m not going to own it’

In televised presidential remarks that can only be described as pouting and pissy, Donald Trump declared that in the wake of Senate Republicans’ failure to advance legislation repealing Obamacare he will now “let Obamacare fail.”

From a transcript:

I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats will come to us and say how do we fix it, how do we fix it, or how do we come up with a new plan.

Whether or not this means Trump will use the powers of his office to sabotage healthcare exchanges by withholding subsidy payments from insurers—which would have a catastrophic effect on Americans insured through those programs—is unclear. If he did, the loss

Continue reading “Trump says he’ll ‘let Obamacare fail’: ‘I’m not going to own it’”

Sean Spicer: It’s ‘inappropriate’ to ask whether Trump’s businesses will be making things in America

During the kickoff to the White House’s “Made in America Week”, an event which may or may not have been orchestrated simply to give Donald the opportunity to sit in a fire truck, press secretary Sean Spicer returned to his no-cameras-allowed podium after a long absence to promote the latest White House rhetoric and pretend at indignation when reporters naturally asked if the companies Trump and offspring still own will be themselves following through on that rhetoric.

Asked if any of the Trump family brands will commit to no longer manufacturing goods abroad, Spicer said the president’s agenda focuses on making sure “all companies can hire here, can expand here, can manufacture here.”
On the Trump family’s companies, however, Spicer said, “It’s not appropriate for me to stand up here and comment about a business. I believe that is a little out of bounds.”

Really now, why do they hide

Continue reading “Sean Spicer: It’s ‘inappropriate’ to ask whether Trump’s businesses will be making things in America”

Fox News host: Trump family ‘has done more for this country than any Democratic elected official’

After Bill O’Reilly finally got himself good and properly canned by Fox News for his long history of grotesque behavior toward his co-workers, a clump of tissue cultivated from his second chin that had been cultivated in a Fox News laboratory until it had turned into a Real Boy was promoted into the Fox News lineup to take his place. We call that tissue-clump Jesse Watters, and you probably know of him from his past O’Reilly-sponsored racist segments and ambush interviews and his own attempts at being deeply creepy.

Watters has settled into the role as any lab-cultivated tissue clump might, meaning he has done his squishy little best to defend Donald Trump and offspring from all the various stuff Donald Trump and his offspring keep doing, whether that be profiting off the presidency in a manner that would lead to Fox-promoted armed marches in the streets if the dreadful Hillary had done

Continue reading “Fox News host: Trump family ‘has done more for this country than any Democratic elected official’”

Republican voters turn against book learning as the party’s enstupiding accelerates

As the Republican base’s voters get dumber, their resentment of people and institutions who are not dumb continues to grow.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.

That’s a 13-point change on the Republican side in just one year—and it happened after years of the number being fairly stable. Why? God only knows, but at this point it’s safe to write the whole thing off as a newly aggressive defense of idiocy. We seem to be living in a new golden age for stupidity, as is evidenced by the vapid, ignorant jagoff selected by Republicans as their preferred leader and king, and the Republican-voting public seems to have redoubled

Continue reading “Republican voters turn against book learning as the party’s enstupiding accelerates”

Republican ‘Listening to America’ poll makes no mention of Republican healthcare plans

The Republican Party is hosting a Listening to America survey. Which is pretty helpful, to be honest, because it’s not like elected Republicans are making any plans for listening to their constituents, so rather than having town halls this summer it’s likely that this one, lonely web page will be the extent of the “listening.” It’s just this, a spot to write down your email address, and the certain inbox doom of making yourself known to the fundraising apparatus of Team Treason.

Fine, let’s take a look.

5. Are your taxes too high?
9. Do you think legal immigration should be reduced until unemployment drops?
15. Do you think universities today indoctrinate rather than teach students?
18. Do you find the news to be generally too negative/hateful?
19. Do you think our country is too divided?
22. Do you feel that you cannot publically admit that you support Trump?
25. Do you

Continue reading “Republican ‘Listening to America’ poll makes no mention of Republican healthcare plans”

Trump Jr. emails point to Russian collaboration even before June meeting

It doesn’t add up. At all. Mind you, there are many questions raised by the emails Donald Trump Jr. released, only after the press had already gotten wind of them, relating to the June 2016 meeting between top members of the Trump campaign and a Russian attorney with ties to that nation’s government, but the central premise of Trump Jr.’s story is that the meeting came out of nowhere, and went nowhere, and nobody ever thought anything about the matter again. But the circumstantial evidence doesn’t support that. And the texts of the emails themselves suggest a different story.

Here’s the key part of the first message from meeting facilitator Rob Goldstone to Donald Trump Jr., a message offering information about “Hillary” that Goldstone asserted was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this

Continue reading “Trump Jr. emails point to Russian collaboration even before June meeting”

Republican leaders still silent whether they, too, would accept Russian intelligence help

For those of us that grew up on the trailing edges of the Cold War, hiding under school desks to escape imagined nuclear blasts and listening to American and Soviet leaders give angry speeches about which nation was Evil and why, it has been exceedingly weird to watch the Republican Party reach down its own throat, grab its stomach and turn itself inside-out on the subject of whether Russia was an existential threat to our democratic way of life or, now, a kindly uncle who between murders and annexations of other people’s patios just wants to give us a helping hand in life. You know, under the table.

Your national cynics and misanthropes have long been pointing out that there hasn’t been a Republican Party plank the party hasn’t been willing to set fire to if it would get them through just one more day’s news cycle, of course, but

Continue reading “Republican leaders still silent whether they, too, would accept Russian intelligence help”

Republican senators dismiss news Trump campaign directly sought collusion with Russian government

You were probably wondering if there was any circumstance whatsoever in which Republican lawmakers and party leaders would, at long last, begin abandoning the nastiness of Donald Trump and those he has surrounded himself with. You were probably wondering if Republican lawmakers, who blocked the public from hearing more forceful warnings about Russian efforts to alter the outcome of the United States presidential election, would at any point give up their continued efforts to block the public from learning the full story of those efforts.

You were probably wondering if there was any decency left in the Republican Party, or among Republican senators. There is not.

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That would be the response of Sen. Thom Tillis to the revelations this

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Republicans are finding themselves on Trump’s enemies list, and it’s their own damn fault

There is no person on the planet who would be surprised to hear that Donald Trump keeps an enemies list. The man is a walking, talking enemies list. Seething about his perceived enemies is what he does—and from his own public statements, it seems at least 80 percent of the man’s brain is devoted to itemized lists of everyone who has ever wronged him and why.

The near-total capitulation of the Republican Party to his every whim hasn’t shielded them from his obsession for vengeance. It’s just made his fury against those that have slighted him more focused.

In private, Trump has spoken of spending $10 million out of his own pocket to defeat an incumbent senator of his own party, Jeff Flake of Arizona, according to two sources familiar with the conversation last fall. More recently, the president celebrated the attacks orchestrated by a White House-sanctioned outside group against another

Continue reading “Republicans are finding themselves on Trump’s enemies list, and it’s their own damn fault”

Mike Pence is using the Naval Observatory as a hub for big-money Republican donors

While Donny Trump spends his days doing whatever it is he does in the White House, the sitting Vice President has been busy using his own taxpayer-provided residence as as meeting grounds for Republican big-money donors.

The centerpiece of the effort is a string of dinners held every few weeks at the vice president’s official residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in Washington. Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, have presided over at least four such soirées, and more are in the works. Each has drawn roughly 30 to 40 guests, including a mix of wealthy donors such as the Chicago hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin and the brokerage firm founder Charles Schwab, as well as Republican fund-raisers and executives from companies like Dow Chemical and the military contractor United Technologies. […]
Mr. Pence’s office declined to release the lists of guests invited to the dinners,

Continue reading “Mike Pence is using the Naval Observatory as a hub for big-money Republican donors”