Arnold Schwarzenegger –
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee
Senator Jeff Flake –
James Murdoch – President of 21st Century Fox and son of Rupert Murdoch –
Arnold Schwarzenegger –
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee
Senator Jeff Flake –
James Murdoch – President of 21st Century Fox and son of Rupert Murdoch –
Seems tone deaf Republican efforts to push a massively unpopular bill through Congress at the expense of the public has led to some reminders of just whom they work for…
And the fact that if you screw over the public, the public’s reaction may not be kind.
Why exactly are these folks pushing legislation which is so massively unpopular? It isn’t for America.
Police said a “threatening note” was found over the weekend after a break-in at the Las Vegas office of Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican who could be a critical swing vote on the GOP health-care bill.
Las Vegas police said officers responded to a call about a burglary alarm Saturday morning at Heller’s office in southwest Las Vegas. There, they discovered what they described in a statement as a “threatening note” addressed to Heller (R-Nev.) near the door to his office.
The Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston reported that the note was related to the Senate’s upcoming vote on the GOP’s health-care bill:
A note taped to Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign office was from someone asserting that he would lose his health care if the key senator voted for the repeal bill and that he would die if that happened and would take Heller with him, a law enforcement source said.
Police said Monday that they would not disclose the contents of the note, citing an ongoing investigation. Megan Taylor, a spokeswoman for Heller, confirmed the break-in but said that she could not comment, because of the investigation.
Heller has been under pressure from the left and the right over his vote on the health-care bill. Republican lawmakers have been steadfast for years in their promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care measure — a pledge Donald Trump frequently invoked on the campaign trail.
However, as The Washington Post’s David Weigel pointed out, Heller is the only Senate Republican facing reelection in 2018 in a state won by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last year. His unique position has made him the focus of several advertising campaigns trying to lobby for his vote.
Last month, Heller came out against an earlier iteration of the GOP’s health-care bill, becoming the fifth Republican senator to do so at the time. At a June 23 news conference, Heller said he was particularly concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid, as well as the impending loss of insurance for those struggling with mental-health and substance-abuse issues.
“I’m telling you right now, I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” Heller said then….
The incident at Heller’s office follows similar incidents involving other GOP senators in recent weeks. Over the July Fourth recess, a protester was arrested outside the Tucson office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) after allegedly asking a staffer: “You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim.” And an Omaha man was arrested this month after walking into an Iowa motorcycle shop and allegedly saying that he “could kill” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who was scheduled to visit the shop the next day.
The break-in also came just three days after the Federal Election Commission ruled that House and Senate lawmakers may now use campaign funds to pay for security upgrades at their personal homes — a change from previous rulings that required lawmakers to petition the panel on a case-by-case basis. But after warnings from House and Senate security officials in the wake of the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the FEC said that security upgrades now qualify as “ordinary and necessary expenses” lawmakers incur as part of official duties.
Security upgrades at congressional district offices are handled with taxpayer funding, and Congress is preparing to spend tens of millions more dollars to protect lawmakers and their staffs. All 435 House lawmakers are receiving $25,000 in emergency funding added to their annual office allowances to be used for any security purpose — a nearly $10.9 million expense that can be used to add bulletproof windows at district offices or to hire a private security guard for public events back home. And at least $5 million is earmarked for the House sergeant at arms to pay for security upgrades at House district offices that face threats or are considered vulnerable….
America has reached “peak stupid” with the “election” of Donald Trump”.
One of the reasons for this shift may well be the “r” word. White folks kids spent a lot of their college investment looking for business and financial degrees, which minorities, and immigrants increasingly shifted to STEM. We have a situation now where native white Americans at the graduate level in some of the STEM fields are either a minority or rapidly becoming a minority. Asians have the highest level of STEM Field participation, while despite gain, held back by programs which intentionally disadvantage black and Hispanic Students, black and Hispanic students make up only about 12% of those receiving STEM Degrees.
Which is why a growing number of colleges are dropping high-stakes testing as a make-or-break admission requirement. What this has caused is the number of black and Hispanics in the STEM fields to grow quickly.
So an American Education System which doesn’t support white supremacy is “bad” to Republicans.
Republicans increasingly say colleges have negative impact on U.S.
Republicans and Democrats offer starkly different assessments of the impact of several of the nation’s leading institutions – including the news media, colleges and universities and churches and religious organizations – and in some cases, the gap in these views is significantly wider today than it was just a year ago.
While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views.
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.
The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults, finds that partisan differences in views of the national news media, already wide, have grown even wider. Democrats’ views of the effect of the national news media have grown more positive over the past year, while Republicans remain overwhelmingly negative.
About as many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents think the news media has a positive (44%) as negative (46%) impact on the way things are going in the country. The share of Democrats holding a positive view of the news media’s impact has increased 11 percentage points since last August (33%).
Republicans, by about eight-to-one (85% to 10%), say the news media has a negative effect. These views have changed little in the past few years…more…
Been saying for a while that the Russian hacking and collusion treason went far beyond just the Chumph and his merry band of morons and nitwit children.
Here, Digby begins asking the right questions at least.
Leading Republicans knew about Russian hacking long before Trump’s nomination. They said nothing and did nothing
Despite Europe’s clear disdain for President Trump it seems as though he’s over there every other week. In fact he’s arriving in France on Thursday at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron to help celebrate Bastille Day and have dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Considering that Trump has implied repeatedly that Paris is nothing but a hellhole these days, it’s a testament to just how desperate he is to get out of Washington. The heat is on and he wants out of the kitchen.
You have certainly heard that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer to get some promised dirt on Hillary Clinton that was represented as being part of a Russian government program to help Trump get elected. Now we know their breathless protestations that they didn’t know nothin’ about no Russians were lies, and we also know that this particular tawdry scheme reached into the highest levels of the campaign. We’ll have to wait for the next shoe to drop. There is always another shoe.
There was one new story on Wednesday that added an interesting detail to the saga and points to a possible larger conspiracy. McClatchy reported that House and Senate investigators as well as the Justice Department are looking at the Trump campaign’s digital operation, one of Jared Kushner’s pet projects (financed by big-daddy benefactor Robert Mercer), to determine if it may have worked with Russia’s sophisticated micro-targeting and propaganda program during the 2016 campaign.
McClatchy also reported that the Justice Department is looking into “whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton.” That’s an issue I’ve written about previously here on Salon, based on some post-election investigative reporting by the New York Times.
This raises once again the question of just what was going on in the Republican Party during this period. After all, it wasn’t just Donald Trump who benefited from Russian hacking. The GOP-dominated House majority was a major beneficiary as well.
Remember, the congressional leadership knew in 2015 that it was happening. Reuters has reported that the so-called Gang of Eight (Republican leaders in Congress) was told that Russian hackers were attacking the Democratic Party but that the information was so top secret they could not share it. As we know, hackers attacked the Democratic National Committee and the personal email of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. But they also hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and information gleaned from that hack was put to use in some 2016 campaigns for Congress.
Also recall that one month before Donald Trump Jr. took that meeting with the Russian lawyer, House Majority Leader Kevin “loose lips” McCarthy was talking about Trump’s connections to Vladimir Putin in a room full of Republicans:
A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. […]
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.
This was the day after news had broken that the Russians had hacked the DNC and Ryan and McCarthy had just come from a meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister, who “had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions.”
Republican leaders kept this from the public for a year, then lied repeatedly about it when confronted until someone produced an audiotape, at which point McCarthy, Ryan, et al., said it was just a joke. Maybe it was. But we know for sure that this idea about Trump being under Putin’s thumb was in the ether in GOP circles even as the party was getting ready to nominate him as its presidential candidate.
Fast forward to late August when the intelligence community was becoming frantic over the evidence of Russian interference and Director of National Intelligence John Brennan held private classified briefings with eight top congressional leaders, telling then that there was evidence the Russians were helping Donald Trump and that unnamed advisers to the Republican nominee might be working with them. In September, intelligence officials convened a big meeting with the Gang of 12, meaning the House and Senate leadership along with chairmen and ranking members of committees on intelligence and homeland security. It was assumed this would result in a “show of solidarity and bipartisan unity” to protest this threat to the integrity of the American democratic process.
That was an erroneous assumption. The Republicans refused to sign anything that implicated the Russian government, only agreeing to tell state elections officials to beware of “malefactors” attempting to hack election software. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly said he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly “an act of partisan politics.” That was that.
Since the election, when Republican officials aren’t actively helping the White House cover up and misdirect, as House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes did, with a few exceptions they still dismiss the scandal, even in the face of documentary evidence like the Donald Trump Jr. emails.
There’s a lot of punditry every day bemoaning the fact that President Trump refuses to admit that the Russian interference in the campaign happened, seeing it as a stubborn (and insulting) rejection of the U.S. intelligence community and a dangerous unwillingness to take needed action to prevent it happening again. But really, why is Trump the only one on the hook? The Republican leadership has turned a blind eye to what was happening since 2015. They knew. They may have even known more about it than Trump did, at least in the beginning. They did nothing about it then and have shown no signs that they plan to do anything in the future.
It’s not all on Donald Trump. He may been the principal beneficiary but the leaders of his party aided and abetted the crime. We may just learn that they benefited from it too.
Seems that even the die-hards are recognizing the very large writing on the wall…Even the Chumph realizes his stupidity.
Now that even Republicans are beginning to realize that gutting healthcare “means you too, stupid” support is dropping like a rock.
The reality that the GOP can’t overturn Obamacare is beginning to set in
Inside Congress and the White House, Republicans are beginning to admit that they’re not likely to be able to pass even a pared-down repeal of the Affordable Care Act, despite months of trying. The conclusion is one that many Republicans in Washington have long privately realized but not publicly discussed much.
As the prospects for the Senate GOP’s Better Care Reconciliation Act have continued to worsen, however, Republicans are openly discussing the idea that they may never be able to agree on a repeal of Obamcare. And it’s an idea that even President Donald Trump is considering.
Trump seemed to play good cop in a Monday morning tweet urging the congressional GOP to do something — anything, really — about health care.
Trump’s statement comes after Congressional leaders had all but given up on the idea that the Affordable Care Act would be repealed and replaced — or even just repealed.
“Clearly, the draft plan is dead,”Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Is the serious rewrite plan dead? I don’t know.” He added, “we don’t know what the plan is” in terms of what comes next for the Senate Republicans.
Cassidy’s morbid terminology was echoed by Arizona Sen. John McCain as he pronounced the bill’s prospects terminal during an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“I think my view is it’s probably going to be dead,” McCain said.
The Trump White House also appears to be coming to this realization as well. During a Sunday interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin explicitly stated that the administration is getting ready to focus attention on something else.
“If we don’t get this passed then the president as he said will go to the next plan,” he told host George Stephanopoulos.
Mnuchin even appeared to endorse a proposed modification to the bill sponsored by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would allow insurance companies to offer plans for sale that are not compliant with Affordable Care Act regulations, provided they also offer at least one plan that is.
“I’m very hopeful that his plan and his changes will get supported. And I think we’d like to get health care done,” Mnuchin said.
Cruz’s idea has come under criticism from more moderate Republicans because they believe it will lead to many companies pricing out older and sicker customers.
Should Republicans decide to punt on health care or work with Democrats (as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been repeatedly threatening his caucus), it may not matter much with their core base of voters.
In a poll released last month by the Kaiser Family Foundation, just 8 percent of self-identified Republicans said that repealing Obamacare should be elected officials’ top priority. Support for the GOP health care bill had fallen to just 55 percent among Republicans in the survey.
The man that racism put into office is too stupid to be there.
Conservatives are beginning to jump the Chumph scow as fast as they can.
Here is another one –
I’m starting to suspect that Donald Trump may not have been right when he said, “You know, I’m like a smart person.” The evidence continues to mount that he is far from smart — so far, in fact, that he may not be capable of carrying out his duties as president.
There is, for example, the story of how Trump met with the pastors of two major Presbyterian churches in New York. “I did very, very well with evangelicals in the polls,” he bragged. When the pastors told Trump they weren’t evangelicals, he demanded to know, “What are you then?” They told him they were mainline Presbyterians. “But you’re all Christians?” he asked. Yes, they had to assure him, Presbyterians are Christians. The kicker: Trump himself is Presbyterian.
Or the story of how Trump asked the editors of the Economist whether they had ever heard of the phrase “priming the pump.” Yes, they assured him, they had. “I haven’t heard it,” Trump continued. “I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago, and I thought it was good.” The phrase has been in widespread use since at least the 1930s.Or the story of how, after arriving in Israel from Saudi Arabia, Trump told his hosts, “We just got back from the Middle East.”These aren’t examples of stupidity, you may object, but of ignorance.
This has become a favorite talking point of Trump’s enablers. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for example, excused Trump’s attempts to pressure FBI Director James Comey into dropping a criminal investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on the grounds that “the president’s new at this” and supposedly didn’t realize that he was doing anything wrong. But Trump has been president for nearly five months now, and he has shown no capacity to learn on the job.
More broadly, Trump has had a lifetime — 71 years — and access to America’s finest educational institutions (he’s a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he never tires of reminding us) to learn things. And yet he doesn’t seem to have acquired even the most basic information that a high school student should possess. Recall that Trump said that Frederick Douglass, who died in 1895, was “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.” He also claimed that Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War, “was really angry that he saw what was happening in regard to the Civil War.”
Why does he know so little? Because he doesn’t read books or even long articles. “I never have,” he proudly told a reporter last year. “I’m always busy doing a lot.”
As president, Trump’s intelligence briefings have been dumbed down, denuded of nuance, and larded with maps and pictures because he can’t be bothered to read a lot of words. He’d rather play golf.The surest indication of how not smart Trump is that he thinks his inability or lack of interest in acquiring knowledge doesn’t matter. He said last year that he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”How’s that working out?
There’s a reason why surveys show more support for Trump’s impeachment than for his presidency. From his catastrophically ill-conceived executive order on immigration to his catastrophically ill-conceived firing of Comey, his administration has been one disaster after another. And those fiascos can be ascribed directly to the president’s lack of intellectual horsepower.How could Trump fire Comey knowing that the FBI director could then testify about the improper requests Trump had made to exonerate himself and drop the investigation of Flynn? And in case there was any doubt about Trump’s intent, he dispelled it by acknowledging on TV that he had the “Russia thing” in mind when firing the FBI director. That’s tantamount to admitting obstruction of justice. Is this how a smart person behaves? If Trump decides to fire the widely respected special counsel Robert Mueller, he will only be compounding this stupidity.
Or what about Trump’s response to the June 3 terrorist attack in London? He reacted by tweeting his support for the “original Travel Ban,” rather than the “watered down, politically correct version” under review by the Supreme Court. Legal observers — including Kellyanne Conway’s husband — instantly saw that Trump was undermining his own case, because the travel ban had been revised precisely in order to pass judicial scrutiny. Indeed, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in refusing to reinstate the travel ban on June 12, cited Trump’s tweets against him. Is this how a smart person behaves?
You could argue that Trump’s lack of acumen is actually his saving grace, because he would be much more dangerous if he were cleverer in implementing his radical agenda. But you can also make the case that his vacuity is imperiling American security.
Trump shared “code-word information” with Russia’s foreign minister, apparently without realizing what he was doing. In the process, he may have blown America’s best source of intelligence on Islamic State plots — a top-secret Israeli penetration of the militant group’s computers.
Trump picked a fight on Twitter with Qatar, apparently not knowing that this small, oil-rich emirate is host to a major U.S. air base that is of vital importance in the air war against the Islamic State.
Trump criticized London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, based on a blatant misreading of what Khan said in the aftermath of the June 3 attack: The mayor had said there was “no reason to be alarmed” about a heightened police presence on the streets — not, as Trump claimed, about the threat of terrorism. In the process, Trump has alienated British public opinion and may have helped the anti-American Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, win votes in Britain’s general election.
Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord apparently because he thinks that global warming — a scientifically proven fact — is a hoax. His speech announcing the pullout demonstrated that he has no understanding of what the Paris accord actually is — a nonbinding compact that does not impose any costs on the United States.
Trump failed to affirm Article V, a bedrock of NATO, during his visit to Brussels, apparently because he labors under the misapprehension that European allies owe the United States and NATO “vast sums of money.” In fact, NATO members are now increasing their defense spending, but the money will not go to the United States or to the alliance; it will go to their own armed forces. Trump has since said he supports Article V, but his initial hesitation undermines American credibility and may embolden Russia.
Trump supporters used to claim that sage advisors could make up for his shortcomings. But he is proving too willful and erratic to be steered by those around him who know better. As Maggie Haberman of the New York Times notes: “Trump doesn’t want to be controlled. In [the] campaign, [he] would often do [the] opposite of what he was advised to do, simply because it was opposite.”
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet certify that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” he can be removed with the concurrence of two-thirds of both houses. That won’t happen, because Republicans are too craven to stand up to Trump. But on the merits perhaps it should. After nearly five months in office, Trump has given no indication that he possesses the mental capacity to be president.
The Vote yesterday in Puerto Rico in a non-binding referendum to become a State is a bit misleading. 77% of the voters chose to sit out.
After years of fiscal mismanagement the “Colony” finds itself in dire straits. The vote, such as it was, is a pleas for help.
The likelihood that a Republican dominated US Congress would move forward to make Puerto Rico a state is nil. Much less the “Bigot in Charge” actually signing any bill to that effect being less than zero. It is not only driven by the fact that most Puerto Ricans vote Democrat, but the core racism of the Republicans in not wanting a Spanish language, ethnically Hispanic state to join the Union. Ergo, as we saw during the Chumph “election” – racism always wins with the white-right.
With schools shuttered, pensions at risk and the island under the authority of an oversight board in New York City, half a million Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to become America’s 51st state, in a flawed election most voters sat out.
With nearly all of the precincts reporting, 97 percent of the ballots cast were in favor of statehood, a landslide critics said indicated that only statehood supporters had turned out to the polls. Opposition parties who prefer independence or remaining a territory boycotted the special election, which they considered rigged in favor of statehood.
On an island where voter participation often hovers around 80 percent, just 23 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Voting stations accustomed to long lines were virtually empty on Sunday.
Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, said he planned to take the victory to Washington and press Congress to admit Puerto Rico to the union.
“From today going forward, the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” he said in a brief televised speech after the voting results were announced.
But his political opponents who do not want statehood argued that heading to Congress with such lopsided results would actually hurt the governor’s cause.
“A 97 percent win is the kind of result you get in a one-party regime,” former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá said in an interview. “Washington will laugh in their faces.”
Puerto Rico has been a United States territory since 1898, when the island was acquired from Spain after the Spanish-American War. Sunday’s nonbinding referendum was the fifth time during Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States that Puerto Ricans voted on their future. They have generally chosen from statehood, independence and remaining a territory.
But the process is usually marred, with ballot language phrased to favor the party in office. In 1998, “none of the above” was the top winner. In 2012, 61 percent of counted votes went to statehood — and half a million ballots were left blank.
But this time, the vote came a few weeks after Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy in the face of $74 billion in debt and $49 billion in pension obligations it cannot pay. More than 150 public schools are being closed as a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans head for the mainland and those who remain brace for huge cuts to public services. Decisions are now in the hands of a bankruptcy judge.
Voters said that Puerto Rico needed the United States now more than ever.
“If there’s an earthquake in Puerto Rico, who is going to send the help? The Americans! This is their land!” said Gladys Martínez Cruz, 73, a retired tax clerk in San Juan’s Barrio Obrero neighborhood. “We need someone who is going to support us, send us money. There’s a lot of hunger in Puerto Rico, even with the help we get.”
Many Puerto Ricans, like Ms. Martínez, live off food stamps, public housing vouchers or other federal programs and worry that a change in political status could affect that aid. A huge publicity campaign warned voters that their citizenship could be at risk.
“I want my children and grandchildren to keep their American citizenship,” said Maira Rentas, a cardiac nurse in San Juan. “Little by little, with whatever votes we get, we have to try to become a state.”
Ana Velázquez, 50, a hospital secretary, said Puerto Rico’s economic problems were so great that they overshadowed other considerations, such as the language, culture and identity that could be lost if the island became a state.
“I don’t want to lose my hymn, my coat of arms, my flag. My beauty queen would no longer be ‘Miss Puerto Rico,’” Ms. Velázquez said. “I don’t see myself ever singing the United States national anthem. I really don’t. But Puerto Rico is in really bad shape, and it needs help.”
So she arrived at the same conclusion as many other Puerto Ricans: She did not vote.
Héctor Ferrer, the head of the Popular Democratic Party, which had urged a boycott, emphasized that eight out of 10 Puerto Rican voters chose to spend the day at church, on the beach or with their families. He argued that the governing party had manipulated the ballot language and even election law to fix the results.
“It was rigged, and not even with trickery could they win,” Mr. Ferrer said.
The ballot option asked voters who wanted to remain a United States territory to say they wished for Puerto Rico to stay “as it is today, subject to the powers of Congress.”
“The title of the law that made this plebiscite is ‘process to decolonize Puerto Rico,’ and one of the alternatives is ‘colony’ as defined by them,” Mr. Ferrer said.
Mr. Ferrer’s party complained about the ballot choices to the Justice Department, which withheld $2.5 million in funding for Sunday’s voting and had urged the Puerto Rican government to hold off until the ballot could be reviewed. Puerto Rico made changes but moved forward without money or approval from the Justice Department.