Friday, May 26, 2017

Day 126: NATO Disasters

Hoo boy. Strap your seatbelts in, because this top one is a doozy.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Days 124 and 125: Budget and a CBO score

Apologies for the no-show yesterday! We're back today though, with a double-dose of Trumpian fuckery!
And finally, to make you feel really good, this is an in-depth report on Jared Kushner's slum-lord company. The most relevant sentence: "there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies’ pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease — even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side". Pursuing people who completely lack the means to fight back against incorrect legal documents is utterly vile

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Day 123: More games in the Middle East

Trump's visit to the Middle East isn't going as badly as expected. Again, however, he has only been set the lowest of bars to pass.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Day 122: Diplomacy

So, Turnip is off in Israel now, and has apparently been giving some public speeches. The global consensus seems to be "could've been worse", but the bar was already set way, way, way down. I haven't found any analyses that I like yet (it is Sunday after all), so go back outside and enjoy the nice weather. Back tomorrow with news!

Day 121: Saudi Arabia

Trump is presently in Saudi Arabia. A "$110 billion deal" was apparently signed, but details are scant. Apparently they're putting on a warm welcome for Trump and his entourage. I haven't seen any other news worth reading, so go out and enjoy the warm weather!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Day 120: Under the microscope

So, Trump is off to Saudi Arabia. What are the chances he'll stay on script? I give it about a 0% chance.
I'm sorry I don't have any good news today. Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Day 119: Disheartening

Things continued to get worse for the administration today.
In non-scandal news:
Plenty of other machinations happening, but as far as I can tell, these are the main actions. I'm looking forward to the weekend, just so we can have a respite from the firehose of bad news.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Day 118: Special Counsel

So much scandal news today. Buckle yourself in!
In other terrifying news:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 117: But her emails!

I can barely keep up with the shit that this administration is flinging. Today is just one scandal piled on top of another.
And then the day close with this revelation: a memo from Comey claims that Trump pressured him to shut down an FBI investigation into Flynn. Comey was apparently documenting everything he found suspicious, and I've read that an FBI agent’s notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations. Uncharacteristically, even Chaffetz wants a piece of this pie.

Republicans are being willfully ignorant and not responding to the fact that the President is literally destroying this country. I am absolutely disgusted. The system of checks and balances is literally failing. Republicans cannot in good conscience continue to support Trump, and I hope that they pay for it with their jobs.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Day 116: Showing Off Secrets

Today we learned that Trump is proud of having people tell him secrets, so much so that he feels the need to brag about knowing secrets.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Day 115: Happy Mother's Day

Nothing happened today! Go outside, see the flowers, breathe in the fresh air!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Day 114: Speeches

Trump gave a self-congratulatory commencement speech at Liberty University today (insofar as I know, the only university in the country to support him). It's not worth reading about. At all.
  • Trump's pick for top USDA Scientist is not a scientist, has never taken a science course, never published a science paper, and never done anything with science. But he's a businessman, so everything is ok? (Hint: everything is not ok)
  • Earlier this week, Trump nominated 10 far-right judges to various courts. Because Republicans refused to even consider any nominations Obama sent them, Trump has a significant number of positions to fill in the courts. It's really disheartening to see positions like judges being so strongly politicized by the senate literally refusing to do it's job, only to have reasonable people be replaced by radicals. The blood is on your hands, Mitch McConnell.

Day 113: Unhinged

Warning: Do not read Trump's tweets from today. Each tweet will decrease your IQ by an average of 5 points.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Day 112: Spinning Apart

News continues to be dominated by Comey's dismissal. It's become evident that the White house can't get its story straight, and today Trump went and blew the whole thing.
Essentially, the White house has just told us that we can't trust a damn thing they say. But I guess we knew that already.

In other news:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 111: Fallout

So, basically everybody criticized Trump for firing Comey today. You should be angry too. This smacks of authoritarianism.
In other news:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Day 110: Explosive

The day started strong, and ended with a bang! Buckle your seatbelts!

More explosions. The FBI began issuing subpoenas for financial records in the Russian investigation, hours before Comey was fired. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Day 109: Yates Testifies

The big news today was that Sally Yates had her day testifying before the Senate. Apparently it was a doozy.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Day 108: A lifeline from France

Only two items today:
Make that three.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Day 107: A weekend to recover

Not much news today.
I have literally not found anything else worth reporting today, and the aggregators I check are also completely empty. So, instead, I will leave you with the following words of wisdom.

Today I wanted to encourage you to stop; to step away from the fray, to let someone else do the world-saving so that you can attend to yourself. Notice how tired you are. See the ways you’ve neglected relationships and sacrificed presence with people around you. Feel the depth of your grief and fatigue. Give your self permission to do nothing loud or important or heroic today. Be intentionally selfish for a few hours. (This doesn’t have to include chocolate, though it probably should.)
-John Pavlovitz

Friday, May 5, 2017

Day 106: Deep breaths

Fallout from the Republican death panel bill dominated media discussion today. Apparently news of the vote was heard internationally, as the UN sent a warning to the Trump administration that it was in danger of violating international law.

Day 105: Republicans will kill us all

You've probably already heard the bad news. Today was a bleak day.
In other news:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Day 104: Save our healthcare

So, it's come down to this. Upset at what a bill that pulls $1 trillion from healthcare would do to their constituents, some Republicans settled for injecting $8 billion back into the system. That's giving back less than one percent of what they're destroying. A vote is now scheduled for tomorrow.

Let me remind you of some of the features of this bill:
  • Massive redistribution of wealth from poor to rich (seriously - the top 1% get at least a $40,000 tax break out of this!)
  • People with pre-existing conditions can be charged vastly increased premiums. "Pre-existing conditions" includes being slightly overweight, being raped, having been born with a birth defect, having had a C-section, and many, many other conditions.
  • This will make healthcare significantly more expensive for the elderly
  • Cutting and burning medicare
  • Reintroducing of lifetime benefit caps, including on employer-sponsored plans
  • Repealing mandated coverage for items like maternity care and birth control
  • Estimated at least 20 million people to lose health insurance
That last point is significant: Republican leaders don't want this bill to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office before it getting voted on, because they don't want people to know just how bad it is.

Please, make noise about this bill. This is unacceptable.

In other news:

Day 103: Wallowing

Today was unusual, in that I didn't read anything during the day that I thought was worthy of setting aside for this roundup. I've had to rely on other aggregators to find the following.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Day 102: Just another manic Monday

Trump was really on fire this weekend, and I only caught bits and pieces of it. Somebody else meticulously summed it all up beautifully. Go and read it.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Day 101: Deal with a devil

Ugh. This first one has me furious.
  • Birds of a feather flock together. And so Trump has invited the President of the Philippines to visit. For those out of the loop, this is the guy who's been encouraging extrajudicial killings in his own country. America is truly forfeiting its stance on human rights abuses with this President. Of course Trump and this guy get along so well, they freaking egg each other on the whole time.
  • A deal has apparently been struck to keep the government lights on through September. I'm not entirely sure what the details of the bargain are, but I'll take this as a positive thing, particularly so given that Trump's wall was not funded.
  • Trump continues trying to undermine Obamacare. Apparently the federal government supplies a slush fund to states to help cover hospital charges for the uninsured poor. Obama argued that this was stupid, and we would do much better to expand medicaid to cover those people who would then get better healthcare and wouldn't end up in the hospital with expensive conditions. Trump argues the opposite - that poor people don't deserve health insurance, and should just stiff the hospital when they get sick. This is so stupid.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day 100: 100 days worse off

Today marks 100 days with Trump in charge. The White House Correspondent's dinner is currently happening, which Trump is not attending (a break in over 30 years of tradition). Instead, he's had another of his campaign-style rallies to make him feel good, where he primarily railed against the media.

In 100 days analyses:
Essentially, the guy has accomplished nothing other than to take advantage of situations that the House and Senate leaders have set up for him (eg, Supreme Court nomination). This is a failed administration.

Otherwise, there were climate change rallies across the country, with tens of thousands marching against the administration's policies. It was even a nice day for it. Of course, the night before this march, the EPA website was scrubbed of all offending climate data.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 99: Another week down

Go get yourself a drink. You've earned it.

Day 98: A whole lot of not much

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Day 97: Tax Plans

Today's coverage was dominated by the administrations tax "plan". It was not so much a "plan" as a wish-list of tax cuts. To avoid linking to lots of articles:
  • Here's an overview of the "plan". It primarily consists of huge gifts to most businesses, and hefty tax cuts for the very rich. Lower income people would benefit slightly from an increased standard deduction. This is an incredibly anti-progressive shift in taxation (progressive being the opposite of regressive for tax codes).
  • There is no proposal to close tax loopholes whatsoever, but does do away with a number of taxes that only impact the wealthy, including the alternative minimum.
  • The entire thing will blow a huge hole in the federal budget, as no new revenue streams are proposed.
  • When anybody tells you that tax cuts will pay for themselves in increased activity in the entire economy, they're lying through their teeth (case in point: Administration). The rule of thumb is that a third of a tax cut is recouped in increased activity.
So, in summary: gift to the rich, hole in federal budget. This thing looks terrible.

In other news:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 96: A String of Defeats

Well, Trump did not have a good day.
A couple of Executive actions:
  • This one slipped by me a few days ago, primarily because it only says "Make me a report". It ostensibly aims to identify complicated parts of the tax code with an eye to simplifying them.
  • This one, signed today, has a little more meat to it. It creates a task force to look at improving conditions in rural America. Or, more precisely, to "identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes to promote in rural America agriculture, economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security, and quality of life". Some are pointing out that the administration is really only paying lip service to rural America, given their proposal to decimate the USDA budget.

Otherwise, we're expecting a much-anticipated tax reform proposal tomorrow. I expect it to be utter garbage. How about you?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 95: T minus 5

As Trump's ego looks to be seriously bruised by not accomplishing anything in his first 100 days as President, we have the following from our administration:
Seems like not much. Apparently the budget showdown and a healthcare bill are dominating behind-the-scenes work. I look forward to some more concrete announcements.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 94: French election

The big news today was from the French election, where Macron and Marine Le Pen will face off in a runoff election. Essentially everybody not with Le Pen has galvanized around Macron, and with good reason - Le Pen is France's equivalent of Trump.

In more local news:
  • Trump had a statement for Earth Day. It was incredibly hypocritical, as one might expect.
  • There is a looming threat of a government shutdown. Trump is making things worse by demanding that funding for his fucking wall be put into the budget. Pure childishness for the purpose of stroking his own ego, made even more grotesque by his promises that America wouldn't pay for it at all. How about those billions be put somewhere useful, like the NIH or the EPA?
  • Trump has been pushing for tax reform. Unfortunately, he has no idea what that even means, beyond "Cut taxes!". The chances of him closing any of the myriad of loopholes for the real estate sector are negative, but we've been promised something big on Wednesday. I expect it to be awful, like every other proposal he's had.
  • Amazingly, Trump thinks that he's getting a vote on a health care bill this week. Given that nobody has even seen the text of this aforementioned bill, chances of this are essentially nil. Rumours have that pre-existing conditions coverage is on the chopping block, so this thing is going to be completely garbage.
  • Do you ever listen to Trump speak and think "What the hell is he talking about? This is utter garbage!" Then you're not alone! Even for an interview under optimum conditions, professionals at the Associated Press couldn't even transcribe his mutterings.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 93: March for Science

Not a whole lot of news today. Some talk regarding tax reform and the upcoming budget showdown, but not much in the way of concrete actions. Here's what I found.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 92: Another week gone

Here's the scoop today:
See you all at the science march tomorrow!

Day 91: Pacific Islands

Nothing ground-shaking today, but that zombie bill I warned you about yesterday is apparently shambling about in the house.
  • The GOP reportedly has a new health care bill. Everything about it sounds disgusting.
  • Trump, who is notoriously behind on nominations for just about everything, has nominated somebody to be secretary for the army. Only problem is that he's nominated a lunatic who believes that opposing transgender equality is God's plan for him. The temerity of those with privilege to justify the repression of marginalized people in the name of religion is disgusting in this country.
  • More details of Russian involvement in the election, highlighting specific Russian goals and programs to undermine the democratic process. I wish somebody would find some evidence linking Trump to Russia once and for all and be done with it.
  • You know how Trump promised to have a bunch of things done in his first 90 or 100 days? We're starting to see reporting of his promises falling through. Here's the first: cyber security. Not only has he blown his promise, he hasn't even started working on this one.
  • Sessions, meanwhile, is annoyed that a "judge on a Pacific island" can overturn Trump's executive order. That island being a bona fide state, complete with all of the rights and responsibilities that entails. Feeling a little bit racist today, Sessions?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day 90: T minus 10 days

A slower news day today. Something about Fox News deciding that 21 years of sexual harassment was a good time to stop dominated local headlines, while the administration stayed largely out of the way.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 89: Special Election #2

The big news tonight is that Jon Ossof captured 48.3% of the vote in Georgia's 6th district special election today. Unfortunately, not quite enough to win the district outright, so a runoff election will be held in June. Fingers crossed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Day 88: Egg rolls, anybody?

So, the White house held it's annual Easter Egg Roll today. Trump was ostensibly hosting, but I believe that to be far too generous a word. About the best I'll give him is that he was "present" for part of it.
  • As part of a regulatory rollback executive order back in January, Trump requested industry point out what regulations were stifling them. Well, the results are in. No prizes for guessing who the prime target is. The list of rollback requests is disgusting. Many of these will lead to harming people by putting profits first.
  • Trump isn't the only one wanting to roll back regulations: Jeff Sessions is on that gravy train too, writing an Op Ed today to push his dystopia where police can once again be "tough on crime", aka, undertake the mass incarceration of minorities.
The rest of the news today was dominated by North Korea once again.
The ante seems to be ratcheting up every day. I'm worried that North Korea is going to call the USA's bluff, and then who knows how Trump will respond.

Day 87: Easter

I wish we could stop talking about Trump. I guess North Korea has given us a break by jumping into the news recently? For all the wrong reasons, though...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Day 86: North Korea Fizzles

A reasonably quiet Saturday. The fireworks out of North Korea fizzled out.

Day 85: Simmering Tension

Despite grave concerns, nothing has blown up in North Korea yet. China appears to be the voice of moderation. It almost seemed like a quiet news day...
Also, for something completely different, this is amazing!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Day 84: A game of chicken

Tensions with North Korea are worse than I've ever seen them. North Korea is apparently preparing to have a nuclear weapon test, and the US has threatened to launch a preemptive strike if it looks like this will happen. Reports estimate that the nuclear weapon test is scheduled for Saturday morning, if not sooner. The rhetoric has become quite inflamed, and I hope that the weekend remains uneventful.

In other news:
  • Trump had a very flippety-floppety day yesterday, including reversing positions on the Import-Export Bank, and the chairwoman of the federal reserve (beyond what I reported yesterday).
  • Trump has threatened to sabotage Obamacare by stopping cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies. These are essentially subsidies to insurance companies to help keep insurance premiums down. I read an estimate that stopping the payments would force premiums to increase by 20-25%. So, Trump is basically threatening to hold people's health insurance hostage.
  • The head of the CIA has claimed that Wikileaks is a hostile intelligence agency, abetted by Russia. Of course, 6 months ago, he was praising them for releasing hacked emails from the DNC...
  • Trump signed the bill to allow states to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood. This is really bad news for people who rely on Planned Parenthood, and not just for abortion services, but for the entire gamut of services that PP offers.
  • A damning report from the Guardian about intelligence regarding collusion between Trump's inner circle and Russia stretching back to 2015, with evidence gathered by at least 5 other countries. The article quotes: “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion.” Well, share it already, so we can have a do-over of the election, thanks!
  • And finally, the US has dropped their largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan. There has been a lot of dick-comparing from the administration regarding this ordnance. As a scientist, the fact that such a bomb even exists sickens me, as scientists were responsible for building it in the first place. Note that the blast radius of this particular bomb is about a mile, making it an incredibly indiscriminate killer.
This last item in particular highlights that we should be spending money on education and aid, rather than bombs that just recruit more terrorists.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Day 83: You say flip, I say flop!

Trump can't have had a good day today, performing at least two 180-degree policy turns. I swear, this guy is phenomenal - he can hold multiple contradictory thoughts in his head at the same time, and spout both of them as policy on the same day.