Thursday Open Thread | Yo Yo Ma Week

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81 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Yo Yo Ma Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Paris Decision Was Driven By the President’s Rage and Fear
    By Josh Marshall Published June 1, 2017 7:34 pm

    Let me expand on what I said below about President Trump’s climate decision being driven by emotion and rage.

    A friend wrote in and said: Wait, you don’t think this was about the battle between Trump’s “nationalist” and “globalist” advisors, his need to feed his core voters and stuff like that? You think it was driven by a spat with Merkel?

    Yes, of course, it was those things. But the decision was driven by contingent events and emotion. Here is what I mean.

    I told someone today that if you’d asked me on November 9th, I would have been shocked that it took Trump this long to pull out of the Paris accord. He ran on doing so and talked about it constantly. But he also talked about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. He railed against Goldman Sachs. He said he was going to build a ridiculous wall along the US Mexico border. He did and said a million other things that he promptly forgot about or came up with some excuse for not doing.

    There’s always been a core of advisors that wanted this outcome. But if not for the events of the last few weeks I think we’d have remained in the Paris accord. Trump got into a growing fight with Europe. France rejected Bannon’s favorite Le Pen. He met with and got disrespected and criticized by the leaders of NATO and the EU. He got mad. Both Merkel and Macron spoke about him as a bully and a child. Macron has happily spoken publicly about over-manning Trump when they met in person.

    This isn’t about climate and it isn’t about Trump’s base. It’s about sticking it to the leaders of Europe. That’s what gave the Bannonites the edge. That and one other thing.

    Trump is scared. He’s entering a a widening gyre of political crisis over Russia. He’s scared and he’s angry and he needs friends. So he’s more and more likely to hug his base – both the most aggressive advisors and the most committed supporters. He’s trying to bring back Corey Lewandowski, his wildest and most troubling-driving advisor who has the unshakable loyalty and lickspittledom Trump now requires. Indeed, we can take it as a given that as the Russia scandal crisis deepens Trump will become more aggressive and more extreme in his policies both to maintain his emotional equilibrium and reinforce his backing from a shrinking base of supporters. This is as certain as night follows day.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    Let’s stop and review for a moment what the president of the United States has done regarding Russia in his first 4 months in office…

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    Thus far, Donald Trump has:
    – Invited the Russian foreign minister and a probable Russian spy/recruiter into the Oval at Putin’s request…

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    He gave the Russians in the Oval previously secret information identifying a third party country’s infiltration of ISIS.

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    He then identified that third party country, Israel, on camera, while standing beside the Israeli prime minister.

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    He all but repudiated NATO, refused to recommit to Article V, shoved the leader of new NATO country Montenegro and slagged Germany.

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    He put on display the very fracturing of the Western alliance that Putin has dreamed of for decades.

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    His administration hinted it would “look at” rolling back sanctions against Russia, then walked it back.

    Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    We learned that his son-in-law and then national security adviser held secret meetings designed to open a direct channel to Putin.

  3. rikyrah says:

    White House eyes Bannon ally for top broadcasting post.
    With sweeping new powers, the position would oversee public media reaching 100 countries.
    06/01/2017 11:04 AM EDT

    The Trump administration’s leading candidate to head the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a position that with recent changes would give the single person unilateral power over the United States’ government messaging abroad reaching millions, is a conservative documentarian with ties to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

    Michael Pack, the leading contender for the post, is currently president and CEO of the Claremont Institute and publisher of its Claremont Review of Books, a California-based conservative institute that has been called the “academic home of Trumpism” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

  4. rikyrah says:

    President Trump’s proposed budget would cut financial aid funding for thousands of low-income college students, particularly those attending a historically black university, according to various analyses of the plan.

    The president’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year, released last week, would drastically reduce funding for federal work-study, Pell Grant reserves and student loan subsidies, while directing more dollars toward defense spending, according to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), an education advocacy group that has raised nearly $5 billion in scholarships for minority students since its inception over 70 years ago.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Malcolm Nance‏Verified account @MalcolmNance

    How did Kushner know Russian Embassy HAD A SECURE COMMS CHANNEL hidden from US Intel? Perhaps Flynn, exDirector of DIA, told him our limits?

  6. rikyrah says:

    Mikel Jollett‏Verified account @Mikel_Jollett

    It’s become clear that if democracy means racial and gender equality then Republicans simply don’t want democracy.

    Given the choice between dictatorship based on propaganda/voter suppression and the end of white supremacy, they’ve chosen dictatorship.

    I feel this is no longer a contest between two opposing points of view both interested in a democratic state.

    But rather a contest between a majority that wants a free democracy based on equal protection/equal power under the law and a well-funded,

    deeply-entrenched, angry minority that will cling to power by any means necessary including the death of democracy in America.

    Voter suppression laws
    State-run propaganda like Breitbart
    The dismissal of democratic norms

    These are the marks of dictatorships.

    A party interested in democracy would not allow them. Democracy is an agreement in which power is given by consent of the governed.

    The ruthless disenfranchisement of the governed, the relentless pursuit of disinformation — these are core values of the Republican Party.

    It has become nothing but a blunt tool of power exercised by (mostly) wealthy, (mostly) white, (mostly) men to maintain a hierarchy.

    And it is now clear that if the majority wants this hierarchy end, well, they’ll simply bypass the majority and destroy democracy itself.

    In other words, they’d rather have their racism than freedom.

    Which is ironic, given that America’s original sin was always the racism which allowed slavery.

    It may be the very thing that destroys us.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Democrat Needs GOP Sign-Off To Get Question Answered, Federal Agency Says
    The Office of Personnel Management insisted that a congresswoman get a Republican to co-sign her standard request.

    June 1, 2017

    The apparent stonewalling is part of a troubling pattern. Democrats have expressed concern that President Donald Trump’s administration is encouraging federal workers to withhold information from them, The Washington Post reported in April.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Jennifer Rubin‏Verified account @JRubinBlogger

    You see, if you have no international agreements and no allies you don’t need a state dept.

  9. rikyrah says:

    I told you that THIS is the reason that the world chucked up DEUCES.
    Shrub was Shrub, but he did surround himself with professionals.
    Dolt45 is surrounded by incompetent clowns.

    After Putin Visit, Tillerson Snubbed Top EU Official
    Another day, another diplomatic blunder as U.S.-EU relations take a turn for the worse under Trump.
    01 JUN 2017 AT 14:54 ET

    The European Union’s director of foreign policy Federica Mogherini — considered an essential partner in U.S.-European relations — was denied information she requested in the form of a briefing from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, says a report in Foreign Policy magazine.

    Sources close to Mogherini told FP that the minister is “really pissed off” that after an April meeting between Tillerson and Putin, Tillerson declined the EU’s request for a briefing ahead of an impending meeting between Mogherini and Russian officials.

    “The sources told Foreign Policy that Tillerson’s office rejected Mogherini’s request for a call and instead kicked it down to a lower-level State Department official. That move infuriated her and came against the backdrop of an already strained U.S.-EU relationship under Trump, whose scandal-plagued White House is still reeling from investigations into the president’s campaign ties to the Kremlin,” said Foreign Policy’s Robbie Gramer.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Kushner Story Doesn’t Match What Russian Bank Says
    June 1, 2017

    The White House and a Russian state-owned bank have very different explanations for why the bank’s chief executive and Jared Kushner held a secret meeting during the presidential transition in December.

    The bank maintained this week that the session was held as part of a new business strategy and was conducted with Kushner in his role as the head of his family’s real estate business. The White House says the meeting was unrelated to business and was one of many diplomatic encounters the soon-to-be presidential adviser was holding ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    The contradiction is deepening confusion over Kushner’s interactions with the Russians as the president’s son-in-law emerges as a key figure in the FBI’s investigation into potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump team.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Ex-CBO directors offer scathing criticism of Mulvaney
    06/01/17 04:31 PM EDT

    White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s comments attempting to discredit the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) damage his own credibility, according to Alice Rivlin, the CBO’s founding director.

    “I think it is unfortunate and that Mulvaney damages his own credibility by blaming the CBO,” Rivlin told The Hill.

    In recent weeks, Mulvaney has made multiple public comments disparaging the CBO, the nonpartisan organization tasked with evaluating how bills in Congress would affect the budget, the economy and other important indicators.

    Mulvaney has lashed out against the office for economic growth projections that he calls pessimistic, as well as a report estimating that millions of people would lose health insurance as a result of the ObamaCare repeal bill.

    “If you’re making large cuts in Medicaid, how can you pretend that people will not lose their Medicaid insurance?” asked Rivlin, who was a budget director under former President Bill Clinton.

    On Wednesday, Mulvaney questioned in a Washington Examiner interview whether “the day of the CBO come and gone,” called its nonpartisan status into question, and personally called into question the work of one CBO expert, Holly Harvey, who had worked as a civil servant, not a political appointee, in the Clinton administration.

    The CBO’s current director, Keith Hall, is a Republican appointee.

  12. rikyrah says:

    GOP Senators Weigh Taxing Employer-Health Plans
    Updated June 1, 2017 6:57 p.m. ET

    Senate Republicans set on reworking the Affordable Care Act are considering taxing employer-sponsored health insurance plans, a move that would meet stiff resistance from companies and potentially raise taxes on millions of people who get coverage on the job.

    The move could raise billions in revenue that could be used to help stabilize the fragile individual insurance market. But it could be politically risky, since it could expand the impact of GOP health proposals from Medicaid recipients and those who buy insurance on their own to the roughly 177 million people who get coverage through their employers.

  13. rikyrah says:

    — –☺Dr. DaShanne Stokes‏
    Trump is like heroin: He makes his supporters feel good while hurting them and those around them.

    #theresistance #maga #trump

  14. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    My heart is crying. So heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with Sammy Lee’s family.
    ‘Everyone loved Sammy’: Family mourns 12-year-old struck, killed in Baton Rouge police chase

    Balloons and flowers were at the intersection where the 12-year-old died Thursday morning. Keon Preston with non-profit Stop the Violence is planning a candlelight vigil at that location at 6 p.m. Thursday.

    Sammy had just completed the fifth grade at Riveroaks Elementary School. His mom said he loved to dance, rap and play sports.

    Terrance said her son was always looking to find ways to make some money, recently putting up lemonade stands, cutting grass and doing household chores for neighbors. Often he would offer her his profits, trying to help out his single mother, Terrance said.

    “He was going to make somebody a great husband,” Terrance said. “He’s a hustler and a provider.”

    She said he was always helpful, and the two of them were especially close: a “momma’s boy,” she said, laughing.

    His oldest sister Kierra Jackson, 24, said Sammy used to play with her two young children; he loved being an uncle, she said.

    “He’s a people person for sure,” Jackson said. “If you knew Sammy, you loved Sammy.”

  15. Liza says:

    THIS. What caused Trump’s seething hatred for President Obama? We know Trump is a white supremacist. Is is just that?

    Trump is determined to undo every positive thing that the first black president ever did, piece by piece.— deray mckesson (@deray) June 1, 2017


  16. Ametia says:

    when is the nightmare of #45 going to END?

    • Liza says:

      Honestly, I don’t know how much more we can take as a nation. How low can we go? Where is the f***ing bottom?

  17. rikyrah says:

    Small university outranks many others in black physics grads
    May 26, 2017, 9:24 AM ET

    One of the smallest historically black colleges in the U.S. boasts a huge accomplishment: pound for pound, tiny Dillard University in New Orleans graduates more physics majors — and, notably, more female physics majors — than far bigger schools with more resources.

    With an enrollment of 1,200, Dillard ranks second in the country in black physics undergrads.

    The point was punctuated at Dillard’s recent commencement exercises, which featured a keynote address from actress and singer Janelle Monae, one of the stars of “Hidden Figures.” The award-winning film tells the story of the black women scientists who fought Jim Crow while doing essential mathematical calculations for America’s space program.

    “To see that we have this significant number of women representing (science and math) in the way that they are is a blessing to America and our future,” Monae told The Associated Press in an interview before the May 13 graduation. “To have physicists coming out of New Orleans who are African-American women … that’s a huge deal.”

    Nine of the top 10 physics departments in the country — at black or white schools — producing the most African American undergraduates in physics are at HBCUs, according to the American Institute of Physics. Currently, the top producing school is Morehouse College, an all-male HBCU with nearly twice as many students as Dillard.

    Dillard, the smallest on the list, ranked comparably with North Carolina A&T University, with more than 10,000 students. The private, liberal arts college has conferred 33 physics degrees since 2007, including nine to black women.

    Degrees in physics are rare for women and minorities. That Dillard — with a campus that is 73 percent female — is outpacing its larger counterparts is significant, said University of Pennsylvania higher education professor Marybeth Gasman.

  18. rikyrah says:

    What #Medicaid means for school children: CALL THE SENATE: 844-432-0883

    — (@MoveOn) June 1, 2017

  19. rikyrah says:

    Surprise! Trump promised a big boost for black colleges—and now he’s cutting them a raw deal.

    — Mother Jones (@MotherJones) June 1, 2017

  20. rikyrah says:

    Trump poised to take contraception fight in a dramatic new direction
    06/01/17 12:51 PM
    By Steve Benen

    The Affordable Care Act’s approach to contraception shouldn’t be especially controversial. Under “Obamacare,” contraception is covered as standard preventive care that insurers are required to provide. Houses of worship are exempt, and thanks to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Hobby Lobby ruling, that exemption is quite broad.

    But according to Donald Trump’s administration, it’s apparently not quite broad enough. Vox reported this week:

    The Trump administration is apparently preparing to overhaul Obamacare’s birth control mandate, purportedly allowing any employer to seek a moral or religious exemption from the requirement, according to a draft regulation obtained by Vox.

    The Affordable Care Act requires nearly all employers to offer health insurance that covers access to a wide array of contraceptive methods. The draft proposal, if finalized, would significantly broaden the type of companies and organizations that can request an exemption. This could lead to many American women who currently receive no-cost contraception having to pay out of pocket for their medication.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Trump’s budget director takes aim at inconvenient, independent data
    06/01/17 11:23 AM—UPDATED 06/01/17 11:26 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Over the weekend, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) noted via Twitter some of the Congressional Budget Office’s findings about the Republican health care plan: millions would lose coverage, severe consequences for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and crushing premium spikes for the elderly. Schiff’s tweet was an accurate reflection of what the CBO’s independent analysis said.

    And yet, there was Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), responding to Schiff’s message with a two-word reply: “Fake news.”

    National Journal’s Ron Brownstein, one of the most measured of all Beltway media voices, noted that it’s “embarrassing for a Senate leader to describe” the Congressional Budget Office in those terms, which is more than fair. The intellectual laziness of Cornyn’s response was amazing, even by 2017 standards. That Cornyn is a member of the Senate Republicans’ health care “working group” – writing the Senate GOP’s legislation in secret – only added insult to injury.

    But the Texas Republican’s flippant rejection of an independent analysis underscored a broader problem. The New Republic’s Brian Beutler, after noting Cornyn’s knee-jerk rejection of CBO data, explained this week, “In attempting to swindle Trumpcare into law, Republicans have relied on more than just false pretenses. They have sought to corrupt and discredit arms of government that were established to fight false pretenses with truth.”

    Cornyn is hardly alone. The Washington Examiner had this report yesterday:

    White House Office of Management Director Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday opened fire on the Congressional Budget Office…. Mulvaney, speaking in his office in the Old Executive Office Building, described the CBO’s scoring of the House Republican healthcare bill as “absurd,” arguing that it was a perfect example of why Congress should stop being so deferential to the group.

    “At some point, you’ve got to ask yourself, has the day of the CBO come and gone?” Mulvaney said…. He said, “The days of relying on some nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to do that work for us has probably come and gone.”

  22. rikyrah says:


    Do Americans have a right to eat? Republican rep won’t say
    06/01/17 10:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    When we hear condemnations of North Korea’s dictatorship, we routinely consider the country’s heartbreaking treatment of its own people, including allowing North Koreans to starve while its regime devotes resources to its weapons programs.

    There’s an underlying assumption behind the condemnations: people should have food and responsible governments should take steps to ensure that their population can eat.

    There’s some question, however, about the degree to which U.S. officials fully embrace this principle. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), a prominent voice in Congress on agriculture policy, spoke to NPR’s Scott Simon about Donald Trump’s plans to slash investments in food stamps. It led to an interesting exchange:

    SIMON: Well, let me ask you this bluntly – is every American entitled to eat?

    SMITH: Well, they – nutrition, obviously, we know is very important. And I would hope that we can look to…

    SIMON: Well, not just important, it’s essential for life. Is every American entitled to eat?

    The Nebraska Republican wouldn’t answer directly, saying only that it’s “essential” that Americans get nutrition – which is true as a matter of biology, but not an answer to the question.

    Which is unsatisfying for a reason. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank noted the fact today that in the United States in 2017, “a powerful member of Congress refuses to grant that Americans should be able to count on eating food.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    Republican congressman: God can ‘take care of’ the climate crisis
    06/01/17 08:01 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Donald Trump will announce later today whether the United States will honor the international climate agreement reached in Paris two years ago, but in the meantime, his party’s rhetoric on global warming offers little reason for hope.

    The HuffPost reported yesterday on Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), a former church pastor, who told constituents the other day that he doesn’t accept the scientific evidence, and even if the evidence turns out to be real, he’s content to let supernatural forces address the problem.

    “I believe there’s climate change,” Walberg said, according to a video of the exchange obtained by HuffPost. “I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time. I believe there are cycles. Do I think man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire universe? No.”

    “Why do I believe that?” he went on. “Well, as a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us. And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he can take care of it.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    Trump may reverse Obama ejection, return Russian compounds: WaPo
    Adam Entous, national security reporter for the Washington Post, talks about his reporting that Donald Trump is considering the return of Russian facilities in the U.S. just months after former President Obama ejected Russians from the compounds as punishment for interfering in the 2016 election.

  25. rikyrah says:

    New subpoenas in House Trump Russia probe, with an extra twist
    Jonathan Landay, D.C. national security correspondent for Reuters, talks about a new set of subpoenas issued by the House Intelligence Committee, some of Trump associates, and some by supposedly recused Devin Nunes to Obama era officials.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Quick Takes: Clinton On How Trump Might Have Coordinated With Russians
    A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 31, 2017 6:52 PM

    * Earlier today I pointed to one of the areas of inquiry the FBI is pursuing with respect to Jared Kushner – the fact that he managed the voter micro targeting work done by Cambridge Analytica. The question this raises is whether or not he cooperated with Russia to micro target voters—specifically in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—by sharing data with them? While not mentioning Kushner in particular, today at the Recode Conference in Southern California, Hillary Clinton gave some examples of how that might have played out. In other words…she gets it.

  27. rikyrah says:

    The Democrats Need a Paradigm Shift
    by Martin Longman
    May 31, 2017 4:56 PM

    The Democrats seem to be caught on flypaper and unable to get out of an infinite loop of debate over whether they should focus on the needs and desires of their progressive base or the needs and desires of the more working class voters they lost in 2016 and which cost them election. You can see them flailing away anywhere you look, on Twitter or Facebook or on cable television and in newspaper columns. Cathleen Decker captures it nicely in her article for the Los Angeles Times:

    Democrats essentially remain in the box where Hillary Clinton spent the general election: able to unify Trump opponents, but unable to craft a message for those not motivated by distaste for him.

    “The Democrats are closer to where the electorate is headed, but have shown a tin ear and an inability to understand the groups that formed the backbone of the Democratic Party for decades,” said veteran Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart.

    The deepest Democratic schisms involve whether to focus on liberal social issues or the economic struggles of blue-collar and middle-class Americans. During the presidential campaign, many voters saw the party as more intent on social issues, an image disputed by Democrats but pushed by Republicans.

    “The Democratic Party, especially the presidential campaign, lost its core economic message last year; Trump sort of outmaneuvered us among Democrats and independents,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, who has spent the last few months in what he calls “kitchen conversations” with voters.

    Supporting the civil rights of Democratic voter groups is admirable, he said, “but we can’t let them bait us into getting away from our core message — and I think that does happen.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    A comment from BJ and my response about Dolt45, Europe and the foreign trip:

    @Amir Khalid:

    In Europe, however, he was there as a national leader meeting with other national leaders. He didn’t — and still doesn’t — realise it, but he was on his last chance to prove to them that he was a peer in their company, able to represent his country and talk serious business. Having failed miserably at that with Angela Merkel and others these past few months, he failed miserably yet again, and they saw no point in hiding their disappointment and frustration. They needed and expected an America they could work with, and Trump just threw that away.

    it wasn’t just him. They wondered if it was an exaggeration. They said – it can’t be THAT BAD..after all, these folks lived through Shrub.

    Then, they realized,

    Shrub at least surrounded himself with professionals. They had no morals, but they were professionals, and their professional class could talk to our professional class.

    Dolt45 has nothing but incompetent clowns..which is why Europe chucked up the DEUCES to America, after 70 years.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Everyone 😐😐😐

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