The fallout from yesterday's drama continues today, with a lot of introspective and finger-pointing pieces. I haven't seen anything today pointing to any new action by the administration, so we can all breathe a little easier.
We do, however, get the treat of seeing an ad campaign that was prematurely purchased to thank Republicans for repealing the Affordable Care Act. Smirk all you like!
Friday, March 24, 2017
Today's coverage continues to be dominated by the Republican health care bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). After high drama in DC today, the bill is dead. Paul Ryan decided that bringing it to a vote when he knew the numbers were against him would be bad politics, and so Ryan and Trump conceded defeat and withdrew the bill. The Affordable Care Act remains the governing law, likely for at least another year. Trump immediately blamed Democrats for not supporting the bill, completely ignoring his own inadequacies and the inadequacies of his party. Who knew you couldn't ram a complete overhaul of health care through Congress in three weeks? Here's an overview of where things now stand, along with the damage that has been done to the administration.
In other news:
In other news:
- The administration approved the Keystone XL pipeline today, completely ignoring all environmental concerns.
- Nunes continues to find himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Apparently he's convinced Manafort to testify before his committee, but scuttled public hearings with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Director of the CIA John Brennan, and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Democrats immediately cried foul, "[an] attempt to choke off public info". The entire mess reeks of colluding with the White house, which happens to be the subject of their investigation. Republicans are being particularly spineless on this. Alas, it looks like we're stuck with Nunes.
- ICE released it's first "public safety report" in accordance with some executive order or other. The obvious outcome is to reduce safety in the areas highlighted in the report. Add to this that ICE is targeting sanctuary cities for deportation raids... This is all disgusting.
- Eric Trump is keeping his father updated on the business world. Blind trust my ass.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Today was supposed to be the day that the House voted on their crappy health care bill. However, early in the afternoon, they realized that they were coming up short by about 30 votes, and scuttled their plans.
- One of the big blocs opposed to the bill is highly conservative (the Freedom Caucus), and so the Republican leadership extended them an olive branch by making a bad bill worse. Note that a bunch of old white men were the only people discussing removing maternity care from insurance plans. Great optics, guys.
- Trump responded late Thursday night by delivering a childish ultimatum: vote on the bill tomorrow, or he'll move on. I laud this decision: I look forward to celebrating the demise of this terrible bill this weekend.
- The congressional budget office rescored the bill based on changes as of Monday night. Their prediction: same number of people lose insurance as the previous iteration, and a further $200 billion in deficit. Disgusting.
- Note that public support for this bill is at 17%.
- Democrats will force a cloture vote on the Gorsuch nomination, according to Schumer. Republicans are naturally threatening to go nuclear. I love this quote: “If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee.”
- The senate voted 50-48 to significantly weaken internet privacy rules. Everybody should be up in arms about this.
- The State Department has started making it significantly harder for people to get visas to visit the US, implementing the beginning of "extreme vetting". An immigration lawyer has pointed out the irony of attempting to implement "extreme vetting" in a 5-minute visa interview.
- Trump gave an interview to TIME magazine on "truth and falsehoods". It was ludicrous. This is the only version of the interview worth reading, where every unsubstantiated claim has been redacted. Trump's basic claim? "I'm President and you're not."
Today was marked by some explosive revelations regarding collusion between the administration and Russia.
- Manafort has been comprehensively tied to Russian interests. Is it curious that the year that he signed a $10 million contract with Russia was the year he moved into Trump tower? Added to this, new reports of the FBI confirming that it has information suggesting collusion between the administration and Russia. Wow. How are Republicans sitting pretty and ignoring all of this? (Here is a very complete analysis of what we know about Manafort)
- Nunes continues to be a fucking dick, running around his committee without telling them, and claiming that Trump's ream was "incidentally" subject to surveillance (because they were talking to shady foreign nationals). Not only is this making a smokescreen to cover for the administration, but why the fuck is somebody who was involved with the transition team heading the executive oversight committee, let alone telling them about their investigation? His behavior today is seriously compromising the ability of this committee to perform its duty. A lot of people are justifiably pretty horrified, and some are even pretty sure that Nunes just revealed highly classified information and should face prosecution (the irony of a Republican leaker is staggering). (A comprehensive analysis of the fuckery that went on here today)
- Ever the voice of reason, after the Nunes circus, McCain very bluntly stated that he does not believe congress has the credibility to investigate the Russian issue.
- Republicans are working hard to try and secure enough votes to push their crappy health care bill through the house. It looks like it's going to be very tight.
- The Department of Health and Human Services decided to stop counting LGBTQ people on their surveys. WTF???
- Is America's army big enough? The NY Times looks into this in detail. Note that having a big army is expensive. If your army is already big enough, you don't want to make it bigger unless you're planning on using it soon. Think about Trump's budget proposal in this light.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
I'm weary today. Here are the things I thought were interesting.
- Ivanka Trump is taking up residence in the White House. Conflicts of interest? Nepotism? Any ethics oversight? Who cares?
- Tillerson is missing a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Given that it's rather rare for a US Secretary of State to miss these meetings, combined with the administration's rhetoric towards NATO, this really doesn't send a good message. But don't worry, he's going to Russia afterwards!
- Manafort is under the microscope again, this time for money laundering. There is also evidence that Manafort never really left the Trump campaign. Incredibly shady.
- Because ICE agents are staking out courthouses, some women are now making the choice between abuse and the possibility of deportation, and concluding that the abuse is better. This is freaking awful.
- The senate hearing for Gorsuch continues today. Senator Al Franken went on the attack, doing his job admirably. Meanwhile, your Republican senators made fools of themselves. For example, Jeff Flake asked “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?”
- Electronic devices are being banned on flights to the US from a variety of Middle-Eastern countries. Except for American airlines. Huh? Doesn't that completely undercut the claim that it's for security purposes? Here's a good analysis of what the fuck this is about.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
The big ticket item today was the head of the FBI James Comey presenting testimony to a House Committee on the FBI's investigation of links between Russia and Trump. It wasn't very nice to the administration, with at least one journalist describing today as the worst day for the Trump administration so far.
- Here are the highlights from the NY Times. The two big items: No, nobody was wiretapping the Trump campaign. And yes, the Trump campaign (now administration) was and remains under a criminal investigation into its ties with Russia.
- That's big. Here it is again: The Trump campaign was under criminal investigation during the campaign and voters were never told. Apparently Clinton's emails were worthy of public notification, even though they were a non-issue. Can I say I am profoundly angry that Comey chose to influence the election in this way?
- The revelations of the hearing were pretty bad for the administration, which started tweeting out selectively edited clips that they claimed victory from. However, those tweets were brought up in the hearing, and were shot down by Comey time and time again.
- The week-long senate session on confirming Gorsuch to the Supreme Court bench started today. I note with a particular bitterness the following quote from Ted Cruz: "the American people played a very direct role in choosing this nominee". Yes, and a convincing majority of those who voted wanted things the other way.
- Could you guess? Gorsuch has pretty terrible views on women.
- Paul Ryan has tweaked his healthcare bill. Hint: it's still terrible. Most of the changes push it even more strongly towards "repeal".
- And why do Republicans like this bill? Because it gives massive (read $200K+) tax cuts to the top earners in the country. Excuse me while I vomit.