Wednesday Open Thread | What’s the Matter With Republicans?

What’s the Matter With Republicans?
Paul Krugman
MAY 19, 2017

On Wednesday, Paul Ryan held a press conference just after the revelation that Donald Trump had pushed James Comey to kill the investigation into Michael Flynn — you know, the guy Trump appointed as national security adviser even though his team knew that Flynn’s highly suspicious foreign ties were under investigation.

Faced with questions about the Flynn scandal and the Comey firing, Ryan waved them away: “I don’t worry about things that are outside my control.”

This might sound like a reasonable philosophy — unless you realize that Ryan is speaker of the House of Representatives, a legislative body with the power to issue subpoenas, compel testimony and, yes, impeach the president. In fact, under the Constitution, Ryan and his congressional colleagues are effectively the only check on a rogue chief executive.

It has become painfully clear, however, that Republicans have no intention of exercising any real oversight over a president who is obviously emotionally unstable, seems to have cognitive issues and is doing a very good imitation of being an agent of a hostile foreign power.

They may make a few gestures toward accountability in the face of bad poll numbers, but there is not a hint that any important figures in the party care enough about the Constitution or the national interest to take a stand.

And the big question we should be asking is how that happened. At this point we know who and what Trump is, and have a pretty good idea of what he has been doing. If we had two patriotic parties in the country, impeachment proceedings would already be underway. But we don’t. What’s the matter with Republicans?

…….

And even if Trump goes, one way or another, the threat to the Republic will be far from over.

In a perverse way, we should count ourselves lucky that Trump is as terrible as he is. Think of what it has taken to get us to this point — his Twitter addiction, his bizarre loyalty to Flynn and affection for Putin, the raw exploitation of his office to enrich his family, the business dealings, whatever they were, he’s evidently trying to cover up by refusing to release his taxes.

The point is that given the character of the Republican Party, we’d be well on the way to autocracy if the man in the White House had even slightly more self-control. Trump may have done himself in; but it can still happen here.

TREASON
TREASON
and more TREASON.

With every inaction, they prove that they are in bed with a hostile foreign power against AMERICAN SOVEREIGNTY.
While, yes, we should not take our eyes off of this illegitimate White House and all it’s shenanigans, never lose sight of everyone in the Republican Party who is putting power over country. Who mumbles platitudes, but nothing else. Remember, at every turn, they have blocked any real investigation into the treason that this White House has done. Anything that would resemble this so-called President being held accountable, they have blocked.
They are knee deep into treason against this country and should be held accountable.

They should not be able to utter the word patriotism, for they are selling out this country to the Russians at every turn.
THE.ENTIRE.LOT.OF.THEM.

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79 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | What’s the Matter With Republicans?

  1. rikyrah says:

    An Open Letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez: ‘There’s Too Much at Stake to Ignore Black Women’

    Today Black women activists, civic and community leaders, and elected officials penned an open letter to Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez calling for a meeting to discuss the state of Black women and the Party.

    Dear Chairman Tom Perez:

    Black women have consistently shown up for Democrats as a loyal voting bloc, demonstrating time and again that we are crucial to the protection of progressive policies such as economic security, affordable healthcare and criminal justice reform.

    We have voted and organized our communities with little support or investment from the Democratic Party for voter mobilization efforts. We have shown how Black women lead, yet the Party’s leadership from Washington to the state parties have few or no Black women in leadership. More and more, Black women are running for office and winning elections — with scant support from Democratic Party infrastructure.

    Well, like civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, who testified at the 1964 Democratic convention demanding Blacks have a seat and voice within the Party, we are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

    The Democratic Party has a real problem. The data reveals that Black women voters are the very foundation to a winning coalition, yet most Black voters feel like the Democrats take them for granted. The Party’s foundation has a growing crack and if it is not addressed quickly, the Party will fall even further behind and ultimately fail in its quest to strengthen its political prospects.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/open-letter-dnc-chair-tom-perez-there-s-too-much-n764221

    Like

  2. rikyrah says:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rikyrah says:

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Liza says:

    Republican candidate ‘body-slams’ Guardian reporter in Montana
    Julia Carrie Wong and Sam Levin
    Wednesday 24 May 2017 21.39 EDT First published on Wednesday 24 May 2017 20.11 EDT

    The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting, “Get the hell out of here.”

    Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire running for the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

    A statement by campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon blamed Jacobs for the altercation, saying that he “entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions”.

    “Jacobs was asked to leave,” the statement reads. “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

    “It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

    Scanlon’s account appears to be contradicted by audio of the abortive interview recorded by Jacobs. The audio does not capture Jacobs being asked to leave or lower his recorder, but does contain an apparent reference to the Guardian’s previous attempts to report on Gianforte. “I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/24/greg-gianforte-bodyslams-reporter-ben-jacobs-montana?CMP=edit_2221

    Like

  5. eliihass says:

    So much for that other lie about speaking Italian and was it oh, 33 other languages..? 🤔😂

    Saying hello and other basic greetings in any language – as most people can and do …is certainly not the same as fluency in a language…

    Take a look at this and tell me honestly that one who has to look to and rely on a translator – who by the way speaks much better English than the recipient of the English translation…for a fleeting interaction with the Pope… and to understand something as basic as ‘what do you feed him’ in Italian, is actually ‘fluent’ in Italian…?

    When will the lies end…?

    Like

  6. eliihass says:

    “…ROME – President Donald Trump’s entourage at the Vatican on Wednesday included his wife, his daughter, and an array of staffers—but not White House press secretary Sean Spicer, a devout Catholic who told reporters earlier this year that he gave up alcohol for Lent.

    Both sides, according to a White House official, agreed to limit the number of staffers who attended. Two other senior communications aides from the White House were included: Hope Hicks, who like Melania and Ivanka Trump wore a black veil over her hair, and Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media and a longtime Trump loyalist.

    Also in attendance were State Department aide Brian Hook, security head Keith Schiller, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Hicks, a loyal aide who has been at Trump’s side since before he announced his candidacy, was introduced to Pope Francis by the president as someone who has worked for him a long time. Scavino was included, despite tweeting during the election last year, “amazing comments from the Pope — considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls” after Pope Francis criticized Trumps plan for a border wall.

    Other members of the traveling Trump team who are not practicing Catholics said they gave up their spots to accommodate Catholic White House aides. But Spicer – a regular churchgoer who was mocked last year for appearing on CNN with ashes on his forehead in honor of Ash Wednesday – was notably absent…”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/24/sean-spicer-no-vatican-visit-238780

    Like

  7. eliihass says:

    Sean Spicer – devout Catholic, whose only wish was to meet the Pope, was left out of the meet and greet with the Pope by the buffoon…even though Jewish Jared and Ivanaka, and ‘media’ alt-right a-hole Dan Scavino who previously attacked the Pope on twitter, were part of the group granted audience with the Pope…the private body guard who hand-delivered the firing letter to Comey, was also part of the group…

    “…Vatican City (CNN)At the most highly anticipated meeting on President Donald Trump’s first foreign odyssey, the ever-shifting pecking order of a tumultuous White House was on full display.

    Not seen was one of Trump’s most visible hands: Sean Spicer, the embattled press secretary and Catholic who was eagerly anticipating the meeting with Pope Francis.

    Instead, standing alongside the President as he met the Pope inside the Sala del Tronetto here were his wife, Melania, dramatically veiled in lace. To her right, eldest daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared, each senior Trump advisers and near-constant presences in Trump’s close circle. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster — Trump’s highest-ranking foreign policy aides — stood flanking Francis.

    Those were the expected faces. But there were others there, too — less familiar yet nonetheless critical to the West Wing ecosystem. Hope Hicks, Trump’s communications adviser; Keith Schiller, his former bodyguard; and Dan Scavino, his social media master, all stood solemnly as Trump greeted the Pontiff.

    On a foreign trip told primarily in images, the staff dynamics of Trump’s White House have been on full view, from the lavish welcome in Saudi Arabia to the exclusive audience Wednesday with Pope Francis.

    Also absent from the Vatican visit: Kellyanne Conway, the senior counselor who remained behind in Washington; Reince Priebus, the chief-of-staff who dropped off Trump’s trip after the first stop; and Steve Bannon, the fire-throwing chief strategist who, as the boss of Breitbart, oversaw articles harshly critical of the Pope…”

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/24/politics/trump-pope-francis-white-house-staff/

    Like

    • Ametia says:

      Spicer’ LIAR, just like the rest of #45’s troop. NO SYMPATHY

      NADA
      ZIP,
      ZERO
      NONE

      Liked by 2 people

      • eliihass says:

        As if wearing ash on his forehead and observing Lent will save him from his many lies on behalf of the buffoon…and only so he can keep a job where he has had to sell whatever marginal ‘credibility’ he supposedly had…

        In my opinion, no self-identifying republican has any credibility or decency..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Liza says:

        None of the people in Trump’s entourage or Trump himself deserved to be in the presence of Pope Francis. I suspect the Pope hopes that some good will come of it, but it won’t. This not-so-merry band of sinners will just keep on doing what they do until they run out of time.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. eliihass says:

    Beware dubious folks who preface their dubious assertions with an effusive reminder that they’re ‘Democrats’ …before going on to espouse disturbing and dubious anti-democratic sentiments and inconsistent with the truth…and parse falsehoods about something so glaringly evident…

    Alan Dershowitz is as dangerous as Sheldon Adleson and any dubious GOP operative out there, when it comes to anything remotely to do with Israel and Netanyahu..

    When Zionist allegiance and Oligarch self-enriching tax-breaks and business bottom lines trump Patriotism and country…beware..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ametia says:

      Alan Dershowitz was on that botoxed-faced Greta Van Susteren’s show today. throwing daggers at Comey & FBI

      WE SEE YOU, MOFO.

      Liked by 1 person

      • eliihass says:

        He was also at Mar a lago meeting with the buffoon not too long ago..Whenever he shows up, it’s only to throw water on anything that incriminates the buffoon…or to shut down or attempt to weaken or poke made-up holes in any legal arguments that target the buffoon..

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Liza says:

    May 24, 2017 5:57 pm
    Trumpcare Would Cost 23 Million Americans Their Health Coverage, Says CBO
    By Ed Kilgore

    The long-awaited Congressional Budget Office “score” of the House-passed version of the American Health Care Act–the score House GOP leaders were afraid to absorb before the vote–arrived today. It was not good news for Republicans looking to claim the bill had been improved since the last, very bad CBO score of an earlier version.

    CBO figured the bill would cost 23 million Americans health insurance coverage over the next ten years, as compared to current law. That’s slightly under the 24 million estimate for the earlier version of the bill, but for practical purposes about the same. And this small improvement in bad coverage numbers comes at the price of a much lower deficit reduction “score:” $119 billion, as opposed to the original $337 billion.

    On the other issue that many Republicans have recently staked almost everything, a reduction in individual insurance premiums, CBO found that after boosting premiums initially, Trumpcare would eventually reduce average premiums—in exchange for policies offering far fewer benefits. For older, poorer and sicker people, however, the picture is much darker. The final House bill’s provisions letting states ask for waivers to get rid of certain mandatory benefits for insurance policies and community rating—a rule that requires people of the same age pay the same price for coverage— makes it hard to know what would ultimately happen, but as Vox health policy wizard Sarah Kliff points out, CBO estimates premiums for some elderly low-income people could go up by 800 per cent.

    The timing for Republicans, moreover, is really bad. A day after the White House released a $4 trillion budget full of draconian cuts aimed particularly at poor people is not the best time to discover that its health care bill will deny health insurance to 23 million Americans in order to generate budget savings that look like sofa cushion money compared to the large deficits the administration is apparently willing to accept. Moreover, the GOP’s reactionary and politically dangerous fiscal calculus of stiffing needy people in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthy is becoming very evident in the tradeoffs Trumpcare creates. As CBO notes, AHCA would reduce federal revenues by $992 billion — in no small part by cutting taxes on wealthy people.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/cbo-trumpcare-would-cost-23-million-people-health-coverage.html

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Liza says:

    Mulvaney says #TrumpBudget reflects vision of people who pay taxes. We all pay taxes; this is sick vision of those who despise the poor.— Rev. Dr. Barber (@RevDrBarber) May 23, 2017

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Like

  11. rikyrah says:

    Mike Pence is now actively auditioning for President. Just wait til Donald Trump turns on him for it.
    By Bill Palmer

    Here’s the thing about Mike Pence: he ostensibly only signed onto the Donald Trump campaign because he figured that if Trump won and then predictably imploded while on the job, he might get to inherit the presidency. Now that Trump’s scandals are exploding and his behavior is more erratic than ever, Pence has begun taking actions that make clear he’s begun auditioning for the job. But just wait til Trump figures it out.

    Consider the steps Mike Pence has taken thus far this month: he’s formed a fundraising PAC that’s independent from Trump (link). He’s been scheduling speaking gigs at graduations and other events that he thinks will allow him to look presidential (which backfired when students at Notre Dame) walked out on him). He’s campaigning for Republican candidates in special elections. And then there’s this bizarre nugget about Pence scheduling a rally in Louisiana for no apparent reason link), along with a leadership roundtable meeting…………….

    it appears Pence is planning for a presidential run in 2020 under the assumption that he’ll already be president by then. But while Trump isn’t the sharpest when it comes to these things, he is paranoid. And if he hasn’t already, he’ll figure out soon that Pence is actively plotting for a post-Trump future.

    That moment is going to be popcorn-worthy. Once Donald Trump decides that Mike Pence is at fault for everything that’s spiraling out of control with his own presidency, he’ll turn on him – and it won’t be pretty. For those who don’t want Trump or Pence to be president, we might get to see them destroy each other before it’s all over.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Liked by 1 person

  13. rikyrah says:

    McConnell on why no Ds in healthcare talks: “We’re not going to waste our time talking to people who have no interest in fixing the problem”

    — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) May 23, 2017

    @frankthorp Reminder: Democrats allowed over 160 amendments from Republicans when they passed the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in 2009.

    — Arlen Parsa (@arlenparsa) May 23, 2017

    @frankthorp Reminder #2: Zero Republicans voted for the final A.C.A. bill, despite helping to write the bill with hundreds of their amendments.

    — Arlen Parsa (@arlenparsa) May 23, 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  14. rikyrah says:

    “At least one million people will die”

    Liberal Librarian
    May 24, 2017

    Now that Adolf Eichmann, I mean Mick Mulvaney, has released the Trump regime’s budget proposal, we know the depths of depravity to which this cabal will sink. The budget is nothing less than a war on the poor—many of them people who voted for Trump in the delusion that the only people who would get it in the neck were “those” people.

    The budget is so full of vileness and depravity that it’s hard to wrap one’s head around its dark enormity.

    Then I saw this story from the New York Times, and it suddenly clicked.

    At least one million people will die in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, researchers and advocates said on Tuesday, if funding cuts proposed by the Trump administration to global public health programs are enacted.
    The United States currently spends more than $6 billion annually on programs that buy antiretroviral drugs for about 11.5 million people worldwide who are infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. The Trump administration has proposed slashing those programs by at least $1.1 billion — nearly a fifth of their current funding, said Jen Kates, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
    “These are lifesaving interventions, and these levels of reductions will significantly curtail service delivery,” Ms. Kates said.
    Are these people the ones Mulvaney says have to be weaned off of government handouts? The sick, the poor, the benighted?

    Think about this: In order to increase the military budget and save the rich a few pennies on the dollar of taxes, the Trump regime is willing to consign possibly millions to an early, preventable death. And these are the same people who are so apoplexed over the “sanctity of life” that they’re slashing funding for family planning all over the developing world.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. rikyrah says:

    Why Sally Yates Stood Up to Trump
    The former acting Attorney General reflects on the F.B.I., Michael Flynn, and how the President ended her career at the Justice Department.
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/29/why-sally-yates-stood-up-to-trump

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Liked by 1 person

    • eliihass says:

      Of course he did..

      And yet, they can’t decide if he’s just a harmless, congenial, maverick businessman with a huge, charming and hard to miss personality, who continues to speak his mind just as he did on the campaign trail and ‘endeared’ himself to ‘Americans’ who then voted for him…

      Or, a Putin-owned, treasonous, grifting, corrupt, deceitful, dumb, ignorant, incurious, bloviating, leaky-mouth, wannabe important, wannabe loved, needy, embarrassingly hollow, narcissistic arse without perspective or reference or sense of discretion – except of course when it comes to his numerous bankruptcies, fraudulent and dubious business dealings – a shallow, less than mediocre buffoon who doesn’t read and has a minimal vocabulary less than that of most 3rd graders…

      Liked by 1 person

  17. rikyrah says:

    THEY ALL NEED TO BURN.
    ALL OF THEM!!!!

    At what point does the Russia scandal become too hot for the GOP?
    05/24/17 01:03 PM
    By Steve Benen
    The investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal is ongoing, but what we already know is rather breathtaking.

    A foreign adversary attacked our election and helped elect its favored candidate. The president’s claims that no one from his team was in contact with Russia during its attack have been discredited. The president fired the director of the FBI because of his dissatisfaction with the ongoing investigation. Before the firing, the president reportedly urged the FBI director to go easy on his disgraced former national security advisor, who remains at the center of the controversy, and who’s already pleaded the Fifth.

    This week, we learned Trump also reportedly urged the director of national intelligence and the director the National Security Administration to publicly comment on the ongoing federal investigation, while White House officials “sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly” with the then-FBI director in order to “encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn.” Yesterday, the former director of the CIA pointed to “contacts and interactions” between Russia and the Trump campaign that he found alarming, despite Trump’s assurances that no such communications occurred.

    To borrow a cliché, we’ve worked our way through the smoke and arrived at some fire. Standing above the flame is a sitting president who seems eager to boast, “Look at this yuge fire I set. Isn’t it tremendous?”

    Under the circumstances, the question isn’t whether Trump is put his presidency in jeopardy; it’s what more congressional Republicans need to see before they agree it’s time for Trump’s term to meet a premature end. As of yesterday, GOP lawmakers, who are well aware of each of the aforementioned details, effectively said they’re not yet close to the threshold. Mother Jones’ David Corn reported:

    The Republicans still are not serious about investigating the Trump-Russia scandal. That message came through resoundingly when the House Intelligence Committee held a public hearing on Tuesday morning with former CIA chief John Brennan. […]

    Yet once again Republicans did not focus on the main elements of the story. When the Republicans on the committee had the chance to question Brennan, they did not press him for more details on Russia’s information warfare against the United States. Instead, they fixated on protecting Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Liked by 1 person

  19. rikyrah says:

    A Terrifying View From the President of the United States
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 24, 2017 10:13 AM

    Last month Donald Trump took the initiative to call Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The reporting at the time was that it was a friendly conversation that ended with the US President extending an invitation for an Oval Office meeting.

    But now the Americas division of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has released a transcript of the call, which has been confirmed as accurate by the White House. It reveals a truly terrifying view from Trump. Here is how the president opened the conversation.

    “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” he said. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

    Mr. Duterte responded that drugs were “the scourge of my nation now, and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.” Mr. Trump responded that “we had a previous president who did not understand that,” an apparent reference to President Barack Obama, “but I understand that.”

    You might remember that when Obama criticized Duterte for his murderous approach, the Philippine President called him the “son of a whore” and an “idiot” who “can go to hell.” Obviously Trump was totally copacetic with that.

    Reporters at the Intercept have provided some background on what the president was congratulating Duterte for doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. rikyrah says:

    Why Does President Trump Stay Loyal to Michael Flynn?
    by Martin Longman
    May 24, 2017 11:40 AM

    It’s a sign of how long the list of particulars against Michael Flynn has become that when I wrote about his legal liabilities yesterday, I failed to mention one of the most serious things he did while serving Donald Trump.

    One of the Trump administration’s first decisions about the fight against the Islamic State was made by Michael Flynn weeks before he was fired – and it conformed to the wishes of Turkey, whose interests, unbeknownst to anyone in Washington, he’d been paid more than $500,000 to represent.

    The decision came 10 days before Donald Trump had been sworn in as president, in a conversation with President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, who had explained the Pentagon’s plan to retake the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa with Syrian Kurdish forces whom the Pentagon considered the U.S.’s most effective military partners. Obama’s national security team had decided to ask for Trump’s sign-off, since the plan would all but certainly be executed after Trump had become president.

    Flynn didn’t hesitate. According to timelines distributed by members of Congress in the weeks since, Flynn told Rice to hold off, a move that would delay the military operation for months.

    If Flynn explained his answer, that’s not recorded, and it’s not known whether he consulted anyone else on the transition team before rendering his verdict. But his position was consistent with the wishes of Turkey, which had long opposed the United States partnering with the Kurdish forces – and which was his undeclared client.

    Trump eventually would approve the Raqqa plan, but not until weeks after Flynn had been fired.

    Like

  21. rikyrah says:

    Team Trump struggles to explain its ‘egregious’ math error
    05/24/17 11:20 AM
    By Steve Benen

    One of the most glaring problems with Donald Trump’s new budget plan is that its architects are bad at arithmetic. Politico’s Michael Grunwald explained:

    Budget proposals always involve some guesswork into the unknowable, and administrations routinely massage numbers to their political advantage. But this proposal is unusually brazen in its defiance of basic math, and in its accounting discrepancies amounting to trillions-with-a-t rather than mere millions or billions. […]

    Trump critics in the budget-wonk world are pointing to another $2 trillion of red ink as a blatant math error – or, less charitably, as an Enron-style accounting fraud.

    Budget fights can admittedly get a little wonky, but this one’s pretty straightforward: Trump’s White House unveiled a budget plan that double-counts $2 trillion. The president and his right-wing budget director, House Freedom Caucus co-founder Mick Mulvaney, specifically counts on $2 trillion in revenue to eliminate the deficit that the administration also devotes to paying for Trump’s tax cuts.

    Harvard economist Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury secretary and National Economic Council director in the previous two Democratic administrations, wrote in the Washington Post that this represents “the most egregious accounting error in a presidential budget in the nearly 40 years I have been tracking them.” Summers added that the mistake is “a logical error of the kind that would justify failing a student in an introductory economics course.”

    Like

  22. Stop making me laugh. That ain’t right.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. rikyrah says:

    Senator: GOP is writing health care bill in secret, without experts
    05/24/17 09:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Later today, the Congressional Budget Office will release its report on the final House Republican health care plan, which passed the lower chamber a few weeks ago. That CBO “score” will initiate a new round of policymaking in the Senate, where the chamber’s health care working group – 13 conservative white guys – have been quietly crafting their own legislation.

    In fact, “quietly” is a polite way of describing the Senate process. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has insisted on as much secrecy as he can muster, and he’s made a deliberate decision to exclude all Senate Democrats – 48% of the chamber, representing more than 50% of the country – from the deliberations. (There is some irony to the fact that Donald Trump is looking for ways to force Democrats to the negotiating table, while GOP leaders block Dems from reaching that table.)

    Making matters quite a bit worse, one Republican senator shed new light on just how ridiculous his party’s process has become. The HuffPost reported:

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday unexpectedly torched his party’s process for crafting an Obamacare repeal bill behind closed doors.

    “It’s a very awkward process, at best,” he told reporters. “There are no experts. There’s no actuarials…. Typically, in a hearing, you’d have people coming in and you’d also have the media opining about if a hearing took place, and X came in and made comments.”

    The Tennessee Republican reportedly added that a public process generally helps “shape policy.”

    Imagine that.

    By one account, the GOP’s health care working group did receive some information yesterday from actuaries, but the discussion was held behind closed doors, and only the 13 Republican members of the working group were allowed to participate in the discussion.

    Not to put too fine a point on this, but the GOP’s approach isn’t how legislating in the United States is supposed to work. What Bob Corker described is a great example of a post-policy party – trying to write a bill in the dark with little to no input from subject-matter experts, authorities, or stakeholders – but it’s a pretty ridiculous way to craft life-or-death legislation affecting one-sixth of the world’s largest economy.

    Like

  24. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    “Texas Police Officer Allegedly Punches A 14-Year-Old Girl In Graphic Video”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/san-antonio-police-punch-girl-video_us_59246d47e4b094cdba5824a0

    Like

  25. Like

  26. Wow! Look at The Pope’s face

    Like

    • Liza says:

      Comrade Ivanka looks like God turned her into a pillar of salt. Comrade Melania left immediately after this picture to throw up.

      Like

  27. The Pope’s face is telling…

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Liked by 1 person

  29. Like

  30. rikyrah says:

    PHUCK.OUTTA.HERE.

    Manu Raju‏Verified account
    @mkraju

    Trey Gowdy, senior GOP member of House Intel, downplayed Brennan’s testimony, telling me it’s not unusual for Russians to contact campaigns

    Like

  31. rikyrah says:

    Dolt45 and Family met Pope Frankie, and he was NOT a happy camper. The twitter reactions were hilarious

    Liked by 1 person

  32. rikyrah says:

    Too cute

    Liked by 1 person

  33. rikyrah says:

    Get ready for the ‘impeachment election’
    By David Ignatius
    Opinion writer May 23 at 7:47 PM
    President Richard Nixon was heading for a big reelection victory in November that would confound his critics. He had just returned from a pathbreaking visit to China and had big, transformative ideas for foreign policy. Yet he felt hounded by his enemies and a media elite that opposed him at every turn.

    And there was that pesky FBI investigation into a “third-rate burglary” at the Watergate office building, about which the media were asking meddlesome questions. Nixon wrote in his diary after a later, revelatory Post scoop about Watergate that this was “the last burp of the Eastern Establishment,” recalls Evan Thomas in a recent book. Nixon was trying to do the people’s business, but he felt angry, isolated and embattled.

    …………………………………………….

    “History does not repeat, but it does instruct,” writes Timothy Snyder in his new book, “On Tyranny.” Some people, apparently including Trump, just don’t learn.

    The world is probably baffled by Washington’s obsession with the Russia scandal. Trump seems popular abroad, as Nixon was. That’s especially true in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China where leaders are tired of being lectured by the United States and the public is fascinated by the cartoon-like “big man” character that Trump projects.

    ………………………………………………………….

    Yet no foreign or domestic success will stop the slow unfolding of the investigation that is now underway. That’s the importance of last week’s appointment of the impeccable Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to investigate the Russia matter. The process can’t be derailed now. If the president or his associates are guilty of wrongdoing, Mueller will find out. If they’re innocent, he’ll discover that, too. From what we know about the former FBI director, he won’t tolerate leaks about his investigation.

    For all Mueller’s probity, this investigation has an inescapable political destination. Mueller must refer any evidence of wrongdoing by Trump himself to the House of Representatives as evidence of possible “high crimes and misdemeanors” that might warrant impeachment. Would this GOP-dominated House begin impeachment proceedings, even on strong evidence of obstruction? Right now, you’d have to guess no.

    The real collision point ahead is the 2018 midterm election. This will be the “impeachment election,” and it may be as bitterly contested as any in decades. Trump seems unlikely to take Nixon’s course of resigning before the House votes on impeachment. He’ll fight all the way — a combative president trying to save his mandate from what he has described as a “witch hunt.” This appeal would resonate with a populist base that already feels disenfranchised by jurists and journalists.

    Like

  34. rikyrah says:

    Trump Continues to Get Away With Everything

    How much more of this horrendous behavior is the nation willing to accept?
    BOB CESCA

    During the third and final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump made sure to accuse Hillary of not having the “stamina” to be president. He also reiterated, by the way, his claim that she didn’t have “the presidential look” — a not so subtle dig at the fact that we’ve never had a woman serve as president, therefore anyone resembling a woman can’t possibly be presidential. The irony in both of these ad-hominem attacks is that Trump himself is neither presidential (his look or otherwise), nor does he have the stamina for the gig.

    His first big overseas trip has been peppered with what some would consider to be “senior moments” — in Trump’s case, they’re senior moments combined with his natural inability to know important things, like where he is and what he’s doing. Indeed, his own staff characterized his disposition as “exhausted,” and that was only on the second day of his trip.

    So, first, Trump neglected to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism” during his address in Saudi Arabia. This was excused by his staff due to the aforementioned exhaustion. But that wasn’t the end of it, nor was it anywhere close to being as egregious as what followed.

    Next, Trump moved on to Israel where he was relieved to report that he “just returned from the Middle East,” even though he was still in the Middle East. (Israel isn’t in Asia or Europe — or maybe Trump thought the Middle East was the Arabian peninsula.)

    On top of that gaffe, which triggered a major facepalm from the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., by the way, Trump inadvertently admitted that the intelligence partner who supplied us with the code-word classified information which Trump blabbed to the Russians was from Israel. Somewhere, the Israeli ambassador just facepalmed again.

    ………………….

    How much more of this horrendous behavior is the nation willing to accept? As John Oliver discussed this week on his HBO show, and as I’ve discussed before in terms of grading Trump on a drastic curve, he always manages to get away with it. Always. Whether it was his unforgivable criticism of John McCain for “getting captured”; or his mocking of Serge Kovaleski’s disability, or his jihad against a Gold Star family (he didn’t even know what a Gold Star family was); or, of course, his confession about grabbing women by their genitals without permission; or, yes, colluding with Russia to commit treason, as well as all of the attempts at a cover-up, Trump seems to get away with trespasses that, each one alone would’ve doomed every other presidential-level politician.

    Like

  35. rikyrah says:

    @obandon1384 “Karen Handel declines to debate with Jon @Ossoff”
    -> We decline to elect her in to office!
    Simple politics!https://t.co/xg36PRwWiI

    — falazar (@falazar) May 24, 2017

    #FlipThe6th: @Ossoff, #Handel to debate on June 6th at 8 pm on WSB-TV Atlanta https://t.co/ecohaY5vbi

    — Dianne Wing (@DianneWing2) May 24, 2017

    Like

  36. rikyrah says:

    Byron York Prepares Republicans For Trump’s Impeachment
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 24, 2017 8:00 AM

    While I rarely agree with Byron York on issues of policy, there have been times I’ve noted that he is one of the few conservatives who seems capable of getting outside the right’s epistemically enclosed bubble to catch a view of reality. He seems to have done just that with an article titled, “At this rate, it won’t matter if Trump colluded with Russia.”

    York toes the Republican line in the beginning by expressing skepticism over claims that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.

    The problem, for the confederation of Democrats, pundits, Obama holdovers, and NeverTrumpers who hoped to see that result, has been that so far, after a lot of investigating, no evidence has emerged that collusion actually occurred.

    I’d suggest that he hold on to his hat on that one…things are just getting started.

    But then York zeroes in on the events following Trump’s decision to fire Comey. He provides a useful reminder of things that happened in such quick succession.

    First, the White House portrayed the firing as 1) not Trump’s doing, and 2) not related to the Russia investigation.

    Then Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he had in fact decided to fire Comey because “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.”

    Then, with accusations of obstruction in the air, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to investigate the Russia affair…

    Then the New York Times reported that Comey wrote contemporaneous memos of his interactions with the president and that during one of those interactions Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn.

    Then the Times reported that Trump, in an Oval Office meeting, bragged to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador that firing Comey relieved Trump of “great pressure” in the Russia investigation.

    Now, whether there was collusion or not, we have a case for obstruction of justice.

    In conclusion, I’m not sure York is completely wrong about what might have happened if the president hadn’t brought this all down on himself.

    Before Trump fired Comey, a likely conclusion of the Russia affair was coming into view. Flynn would be in trouble for his connections to Turkey and possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort would be in trouble for some sort of shady business dealings in Ukraine. Maybe another figure or two from TrumpWorld would get into trouble, as well, but in ways tangential to the investigation. There would be scalps for Democrats to celebrate, but the most consequential issue — collusion — would end in nothing.

    I suspect that York is trying to prepare Republicans for the inevitable results that are about to unfold with respect to Trump’s obstruction of justice. He’s also correct in suggesting that when/if the president is impeached, he will deserve it.

    Like

  37. rikyrah says:

    There are a lot of deplorable people in the Trump administration. But lately, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney seems to be vying for placement at the top of the list. Here is what he wrote about the administration’s budget that destroys this country’s safety net:

    For years, we’ve focused on how we can help Americans receive taxpayer-funded assistance. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’re now looking at how we can respect both those who require assistance and the taxpayers who fund that support. For the first time in a long time, we’re putting taxpayers first.

    Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft. This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.

    In other words, public assistance is “theft” and “larceny.”

    Like

  38. rikyrah says:

    Quick Takes: Republicans Are Still Intent on Protecting Trump
    A round-up of news that caught my eye today.

    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 23, 2017 7:25 PM

    * Former CIA Director John Brennan didn’t drop any bombshells during his testimony today in front of the House Intelligence Committee. Instead, as David Corn documents, it was Republicans on the committee who made the news.

    The Republicans still are not serious about investigating the Trump-Russia scandal. That message came through resoundingly when the House Intelligence Committee held a public hearing on Tuesday morning with former CIA chief John Brennan…

    The Republicans zeroed in on the issue of whether Trump and his associates colluded with any Russians involved in the attack on US democracy—to push Brennan to say he had not seen concrete evidence of such conspiring. Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Fla) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) grilled Brennan repeatedly on this point. They posed the same basic query: Did you see any evidence that Trump or his associates plotted with Russians? “I don’t do evidence. I do intelligence,” Brennan replied. Still, they kept pressing him. They were obviously hoping he would state that he had not come across any such evidence so Trump and his champions could cite Brennan as a witness for their claim no collusion occurred.

    In the face of this questioning, Brennan repeatedly stated that the intelligence he saw regarding contacts between Trump associates and Russia was worrisome and deserved full FBI scrutiny. So the Republicans failed in their mission to provide cover for Trump—and they ended up highlighting the legitimacy of the FBI inquiry begun under Comey.

    Like

  39. rikyrah says:

    On entitlements, Trump arrives at his ‘Read My Lips’ moment
    05/24/17 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In 1988, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush was seen by some in his party as too moderate, and he sought to assuage those concerns by vowing not to raise taxes. It became a central pillar of Bush’s national campaign: “Read my lips,” he said. “No new taxes.”

    It was a promise Bush decided not to keep. The Republican, needing to cut a budget deal with a Democratic Congress, eventually agreed to some tax increases, reluctantly abandoning his pledge because, as Bush saw it, Democratic lawmakers didn’t leave him with much of a choice.

    Nearly three decades later, Donald Trump is in the White House, and with the unveiling of his new budget, another Republican president has arrived at a “read-my-lips” moment of his own.

    As a candidate, Trump took care to separate himself from the GOP field and his party’s orthodoxy by making a promise other Republicans wouldn’t consider and didn’t believe:

    “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid. Every other Republican’s going to cut, and even if they wouldn’t, they don’t know what to do because they don’t know where the money is. I do. I do.”

    Like

  40. rikyrah says:

    Russia scandal reaches new level: Donald Trump lawyers up
    05/24/17 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    When a political scandal grows more serious, and powerful officials grow anxious about the direction of an ongoing investigation, we tend to reach the “lawyer up” phase: the point at which the powerful hire outside counsel to represent their interests.

    In the Russia scandal, Donald Trump has now reached this stage.

    President Donald Trump is expected to retain Marc Kasowitz as private attorney on matters related to the Russia investigation, sources familiar with the decision told NBC News Tuesday.

    Kasowitz has represented Trump in the past. Fox Business and ABC News earlier reported that Trump was expected to retain Kasowitz in relation to the Russia investigation.

    Note, Kasowitz will represent Trump as an individual. This is separate from the White House’s counsel’s office, currently led by Don McGahn, which oversees legal matters related to the presidency.

    Kasowitz is a curious choice. The New York attorney does not, for example, have a background in constitutional or defense cases – whether the president will face specific legal allegations remains unclear – though he has represented Trump in a variety of civil cases, “including on his divorce records, real estate transactions and allegations of fraud at Trump University.”

    Liked by 1 person

  41. rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 5/23/17
    Intel officials may be accidental Trump-Russia probe witnesses
    Rachel Maddow explains how Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency chief, Admiral Michael Rogers, could end up being called upon to corroborate each others’ accounts of Donald Trump’s attempts to push back on being under investigation.

    Like

  42. rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 5/23/17
    House Intel staffing up to follow Trump camp’s money in probe
    Congresswoman Jackie Speier talks with Rachel Maddow about how “follow the money” is proving to be fruitful guidance for the House Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Russia investigation.

    Like

  43. rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 5/23/17
    Trump-Russia probe hits bottleneck with requests to Treasury
    Julie Zebrak, former senior adviser at FinCEN, talks with Rachel Maddow about how the FinCEN unit of the Treasury Department helps with investigations into financial crimes

    Like

  44. rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 5/23/17
    Brennan saw pattern of Russian op in Trump camp interactions
    Rachel Maddow reports on highlights from former CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in which he described his concerns about Russians trying to use the Trump campaign.

    Like

  45. rikyrah says:

    How Trump’s budget affects women https://t.co/IVN1JlQFLY pic.twitter.com/cHjVBZPiVS

    — The New York Times (@nytimes) May 24, 2017

    Like

  46. rikyrah says:

    In presence of pool reporters @POTUS said to @Pontifex it’s “a very great honor.” The pope did not say anything. He did not smile. pic.twitter.com/Li0uhlE7w9

    — Steve Herman (@W7VOA) May 24, 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  47. rikyrah says:

    CBO score on AHCA to be released today. Depending on their conclusions, House may have to vote on health care again. https://t.co/NVUO3JQxnG

    — Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 24, 2017

    Like

  48. rikyrah says:

    Eisenhower: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies…a theft from those who hunger & are not fed…” https://t.co/Ar8phAfpBB

    — Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) May 23, 2017

    Reply

    Liked by 3 people

  49. rikyrah says:

    Trump tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters: NYT https://t.co/1Q5g238lWP pic.twitter.com/o2BE3nZqTH

    — Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 24, 2017

    Like

  50. rikyrah says:

    Icahn Guides Trump’s Policy and Scores $60 Million
    by Mario Parker
    May 24, 2017, 5:00 AM CDT
    Billionaire’s CVR Energy saves from plunge in energy credits
    His crusade to excuse refiners from rules pays off in quarter
    Government work has paid off handsomely for billionaire Carl Icahn.

    CVR Energy Inc., his oil refining company, saved about $60 million in the first quarter because of expectations that the federal government will ease a regulation involving renewable fuels, securities filings show.

    It’s much more than a lucky break. As a “special regulatory adviser” to President Donald Trump, Icahn himself has been advocating the kind of relief that will benefit his company.

    Icahn’s cost savings show how the Trump administration has let officials’ outside business interests influence policy decisions. Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota Law School professor and White House ethics counsel under President George W. Bush, calls Icahn’s role “a clear conflict of interest.”

    Liked by 1 person

  51. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Liked by 2 people

  52. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Liked by 1 person

  53. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Like

  54. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Liked by 1 person

  55. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Like

  56. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning,Everyone😐😐😐

    Like

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