“The result is a two-track presidency.”

The New York Times published an anonymous Op-Ed essay by a senior member of the Trump administration, something they’ve never done before:

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Scathing.

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Politics, Tromp

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant”

From the Editorial Board of The New York Times:

The last time President Trump claimed that “both sides” were responsible for bad behavior, it didn’t go well.

That was nearly a year ago, after a march of neo-Nazis descended into violence and a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing a woman.

On Monday, Mr. Trump again engaged in immoral equivalence, this time during a gobsmacking news conference after his meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. A reporter referred to last week’s indictments of 12 Russian military officials for a coordinated cyberattack on the 2016 election and asked Mr. Trump if he held Russia responsible. “I hold both countries responsible,” Mr. Trump said.

Even in a presidency replete with self-defeating moments for the United States, Mr. Trump’s comments on Monday, which were broadcast live around the world, stand out.

The title of this opinion piece is ‘Why Won’t Donald Trump Speak for America?’ and they don’t answer that question because no one but Trump knows, yet.

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Politics

Russia’s got the clearance to run the interference.

12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation:

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, on Friday announced new charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The announcement came just a few days before President Trump is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland.

The 11-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy by the Russian intelligence officials against the United States, money laundering and attempts to break into state boards of elections and other government agencies.

The indictment is part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It’s become increasingly obvious over the last 2 years Russians have been interfering in American politics for quite some time. The Mueller investigation is just further confirmation.

A good trick I learned when listening to Trump is just think of the opposite of what he says to know what’s really going on. If he says the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt, it’s not a witch hunt. If he says Putin is a strong leader, he’s really a scumbag. If he claims he didn’t criticize British prime minister Theresa May yesterday, he did criticize her.

Categories:

Politics, Tromp

Man up, Dems

Obama offers Democrats tough love ahead of midterms: ‘Enough moping’:

At one point, he turned to the crowd and declared, “Enough moping, this is a mope-free zone.”

And the former President even suggested to the roughly 200 donors in attendance, who also enjoyed a performance from Christina Aguilera, that Democrats can’t get fixated on the glitz and personality of politics.

“We shouldn’t expect (politics) to be entertaining all the time — and Christina Aguilera was wonderful — but you don’t need to have an amazing singer at every event,” he said. “Sometimes you are just in a church basement making phone calls and eating cold pizza.”

Word. Dems need to toughen up, fight back. The old rules of politics are no longer valid. This doesn’t mean lying, cheating, and treating others with hostility and prejudice like Trump does, but it does mean fighting back.

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Politics

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Net Neutrality Dismantled

F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules:

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to dismantle landmark rules regulating the businesses that connect consumers to the internet, granting broadband companies the power to potentially reshape Americans’ online experiences.

The agency scrapped the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone service.

The action reversed the agency’s 2015 decision, during the Obama administration, to better protect Americans as they have migrated to the internet for most communications. It will take a couple of weeks for the changes go into effect, but groups opposed to the action have already announced plans to sue the agency to restore the net neutrality regulations. Those suits could take many months to be resolved.

Today was a very bad day for Americans.

Categories:

Business, Politics

“Trump is the darkness.”

Josh Marshall on how Trump destroys everything he touches:

I puzzled over this for some time. Eventually I sensed that Trump wasn’t inducing people’s self-destruction so much as he was acting like a divining rod, revealing rot that existed already but was not apparent. It may seem like an odd comparison. But I’m reminded of the effect in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series where the cursed pirates appear to be flesh and blood bodies. But the moonlight reveals them as desiccated skeletons, animated but undead. The rot was there but hidden. Trump is the moonlight. Perhaps better to say, to invert our metaphor, Trump is the darkness.

I would add to this that Trump increases the rot. He brings out the worst in people.

Because he’s constantly lying, he’s creating conflicts were none existed.

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Politics, Tromp

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There’s the door, Texas.

In Texas, Distrust of Washington Collides With Need for Federal Aid:

Few places need the federal government right now more than Texas does, as it begins to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Yet there are few states where the federal government is viewed with more resentment, suspicion and scorn.

For Republicans, who dominate Texas government, anti-Washington sentiment is more than just a red-meat rhetorical flourish — it is a guiding principle.

Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican former state attorney general, once described a typical day in his old job as, “I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home.” His predecessor as governor, Rick Perry, wrote a book titled “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington.”

The sentiment is not limited to politicians. In June, the legislature of Texas Boys State — the mock-government exercise for high schoolers, run by the American Legion — voted overwhelmingly to secede from the union.

Texas has been a pain in the side of the United States since Day 1. I wasn’t aware of this until I started reading Battle Cry of Freedom and began reading more articles about Texas.

As much as I don’t like the idea of a flag with 49 stars in it, I’m willing to let that go so we can let Texas go.

Let’s see how long Texas can make it on it’s own.

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Community, Politics

“Relief for the Rich Act”

In his op-ed piece, Understanding Republican Cruelty, Paul Krugman explains the redistribution of wealth going on with Republican health legislation:

More than 40 percent of the Senate bill’s tax cuts would go to people with annual incomes over $1 million — but even these lucky few would see their after-tax income rise only by a barely noticeable 2 percent.

So it’s vast suffering — including, according to the best estimates, around 200,000 preventable deaths — imposed on many of our fellow citizens in order to give a handful of wealthy people what amounts to some extra pocket change. And the public hates the idea: Polling shows overwhelming popular opposition, even though many voters don’t realize just how cruel the bill really is. For example, only a minority of voters are aware of the plan to make savage cuts to Medicaid.

In fact, my guess is that the bill has low approval even among those who would get a significant tax cut. Warren Buffett has denounced the Senate bill as the “Relief for the Rich Act,” and he’s surely not the only billionaire who feels that way.

It’s fucked up to see an administration so hostile towards the people they represent.

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Politics

Environmental protection. Ha, just kidding.

Trump announces U.S. will exit Paris climate deal:

White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt pushed for a withdrawal, which probably can’t actually be finalized until near the end of Trump’s term.

The Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency was an advocate for pulling out of The Paris Agreement.

Environmental. Protection.

This is a fucked up TV show we’re all in, not real life, right?

Categories:

Environment, Politics

The solution to the problem lies within the problem itself

The GOP Just Killed Consumer Broadband Privacy Protections:

As most had expected, the House of Representatives today voted 215 to 205 to kill privacy rules protecting US broadband subscribers. If you’re interested in a little thing called public accountability, you can find a breakdown of which Representatives voted for the measure here. The rules, approved by the FCC last fall, were slated to take effect this month.

But thanks to relentless lobbying by the broadband and marketing industries, the GOP quickly rushed to dismantle the rules at ISP request. The effort involved using the Congressional Review Act, which only lets Congress kill recently passed regulations, but prevents the regulator in question from implementing the same regulations down the road.

The rules would have required that ISPs transparently disclose private data collection and sales, while requiring ISPs have consumers opt in to the collection of more private financial or browsing history data.

Today’s vote came after the Senate voted 50-48 last week to kille the rules. The vote to dismantle the rules is seen as one of the more brazen examples of pay-to-play politics in recent memory. It’s a massive win for giant ISPs; especially those like AT&T and Verizon that are pushing hard into the Millennial advertising business.

Alright, this is really bad, but I try to be an optimist. One of my design professors used to say, “The solution to the problem lies within the problem itself.”

So privacy rules are going away. Fine. This means we have to be vigilant and take matters into our own hands.

Although it was a very different situation, this reminds me of a lawsuit that occurred in the pre-iPhone 2006-07 period, banning the use of plugin technologies, like Flash, on the Internet. Eolas had brought forth the lawsuit against Microsoft and their Explorer web browser in relation to one of their patents. It sounded really bad for those of us who designed websites for a living but didn’t understand much about the technologies of the Web.

Then a developer I worked with named Geoff Stearns figured out a clever workaround to deploy Flash objects with Javascript. He wasn’t the only developer to figure this out. Like the light bulb, multiple people had figured out very similar solutions all around the same time. It actually made Flash sites more usable since it allowed for the HTML-only version of a page to display if the user didn’t have Flash. This meant that even after the lawsuit was dropped/settled, the web development community continued to use the Javascript workaround to build Flash sites.

I bring this story up to only to wonder if out of all the developers and software engineers responsible for helping create the Internet and keep it running, there are at least a few of them who have ideas on countering this privacy legislation.

“a garbage bill that can’t pay for itself”

Friend and DE contributor Bryan Larrick on his experience with Obamacare:

Obamacare has faced regular attacks from the Republican Party, since before it was even passed. It was victim to such rhetorical fantasies as death panels and the like. The act fit in nicely with all of the other fevered conspiracy theories surrounding the Obama administration, and like all those others, none of the dastardly things said about Obamacare were true. And these false narratives about the act still hold sway among members of Congress as they pander to the extreme members of the party’s base. When he announced the AHCA, House Speaker Paul Ryan, one of the most craven men ever to serve in Congress, said, “This unified Republican government will deliver relief and peace of mind to the millions of Americans suffering under Obamacare.”

Did I write that Paul Ryan was craven? Because it actually takes some stones to stand in front of a bank of microphones and say something so utterly, completely untrue. Suffering? Suffering?! Tens of millions of Americans who did not have health insurance before Obamacare now have it. These are people who no longer have to worry about financial destruction should they get seriously ill. Also, because they have insurance, these millions are now more likely to seek out preventive care, which leads to a healthier and longer life, and lowers the overall cost of healthcare in the long run. I am one of those people.

Bryan admits the ACA is not perfect, but what Republicans are proposing with the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is straight up hostile to the people of the United States.

The term ‘Obamacare’ was a nickname Republicans came up with to place blame on Obama for creating what they saw as a horrible healthcare system. The negative connotations — and ignorance — towards ‘Obamacare’ are so strong in certain parts of the US that people will say they agree with the goals of The Affordable Care Act but don’t like Obamacare. Jimmy Kimmel was nice enough to do a multi-part series to show this in action.

I find it ironic that in hindsight, ‘Obamacare’ could end up having positive connotations in light of the shit sandwich Paul Ryan has presented with the AHCA and what many of his fellow Republicans are rejecting.

Categories:

Health, Politics, Tromp

No, you shouldn’t always listen to your elders.

Noam N. Levey on the losers in Trump’s victory:

Americans who swept President Trump to victory — lower-income, older voters in conservative, rural parts of the country — stand to lose the most in federal healthcare aid under a Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a Times analysis of county voting and tax credit data.

Among those hit the hardest under the current House bill are 60-year-olds with annual incomes of $30,000, particularly in rural areas where healthcare costs are higher and Obamacare subsidies are greater.

In nearly 1,500 counties nationwide, such a person stands to lose more than $6,000 a year in federal insurance subsidies. Ninety percent of those counties backed Trump, the analysis shows.

And 68 of the 70 counties where these consumers would suffer the largest losses supported Trump in November.

We’re seeing a scary scenario unfolding.

Oh, and the irony:

Meanwhile, higher-income, younger Americans — many of whom live in urban areas won by Democrat Hillary Clinton — stand to get more assistance in the Republican legislation.

Is this what Trump voters think “Make America Great Again” looks like?

Categories:

Health, Politics, Tromp

I’m confused. Is this a plan or a plan?

Trump on the ACA replacement Republicans in the House of Representatives are proposing:

“We’re going to do something that’s great, and I am proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives,” Mr. Trump said. “This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor, and this will be a plan where you can choose your plan. And you know what the plan is. This is the plan. It’s a complicated process, but actually it’s very simple, it’s called good health care.”

Boy Trump has a way with words, doesn’t he?

It sounds like there are a number of Republicans who are not happy with it:

“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for,” said Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who was joined by a constellation of conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America and Charles G. and David H. Koch’s Americans for Prosperity. “It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction. We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that.”

Since the introduction of the ACA in 2010, Republicans have been more focused on dismantling it, than conceiving of an alternative.

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Politics

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