Thursday, June 22, 2017

Big Pharma Gets $28 Billion Tax Break in GOP Trumpcare Plan

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/06/22/big-pharma-gets-28-billion-tax-break-gop-trumpcare-plan
"There will be a lot of losers if the House GOP’s disastrous plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ever becomes law: people with preexisting medical conditions, working families, older folks, kids. One of the few winners would be the nation’s pharmaceutical industry: $28 billion richer thanks to a big tax cut. The Senate is likely to keep this tax break in its version of the legislation. Do America’s drug makers deserve a $28 billion tax cut over 10 years, when the profits of the top 10 companies topped $83 billion last year alone, with the top 5 pocketing nearly $58 billion? Hardly. In fact, they need to start paying their fair share. The Republican plan passed by the House and endorsed by President Trump this spring would cost 23 million Americans their health care while handing out $660 billion in tax cuts, mostly to wealthy individuals and big health-care companies."

Trump's Plan for Drug Pricing Executive Order Is a Big Pharma Wish List

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41039-trump-s-plan-for-drug-pricing-executive-order-is-a-big-pharma-wish-list
"Raise your hand if you believed Donald Trump's repeated promises to take on Big Pharma. What about the presidential boast that drug prices for the American people "will come way down?" Anyone? Sadly, skepticism about the true impact of Trump's populist posturing on drug pricing has proven to be well justified. As a worried nation focuses on the looming danger of the Senate vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the pharmaceutical industry has joined hands with the president who once said its corporate members are "getting away with murder." This week, the New York Times obtained a draft of a planned President Trump executive order on drug pricing. As Patients for Affordable Drugs founder and cancer patient David Mitchell told the Times, the text indicates that "Pharma has captured the process." The order, which appears likely to be rolled out after the dust settles on the Affordable Care Act repeal effort, was reportedly written largely by Trump budget staffer Joe Grogan, who was hired by the administration fresh from his role as a drug industry lobbyist."

A First Look at the Senate Republican Health Bill

A Message to Trump Voters on the Occasion of This Healthcare Bill

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a55824/senate-republican-healthcare-bill/
"Today is not the day for you to ask for my understanding as to how you're going to afford Grandma's chemo now that she's busted the lifetime cap on her insurance. Today is not the day for you to ask for my sympathy for Grandpa who's going to get his ass hoisted out of his rest home and dropped onto the couch in your basement family room because his Medicaid ran out. Today is not the day for you to moan into TV cameras about how Cousin Clyde with the opioid problem has to go back to sticking up tourists for his fix because the little hospital up by the mountain closed. Not today. Not this particular Thursday. Maybe by Monday. The Senate unveiled its big secret tax-cut plan on Thursday morning. It also contains some elements dealing with healthcare that will make the lives of millions of sick and elderly Americans immeasurably worse, but, since it's actually a tax-cut bill, and it actually does cut taxes for the wealthiest among us, then I guess you can say the strategy was a success. And they say the Republicans can't govern. Hah."

The Impact of the AHCA on Veterans: State-by-State Breakdown

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/news/2017/06/22/434928/impact-ahca-veterans-state-state-breakdown/
"Contrary to common misperceptions, the majority of the nation’s 20 million veterans do not get their health care coverage from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs but instead depend on other types of insurance. This includes Medicaid, which currently covers nearly 1.8 million American veterans. The cuts not only break President Trump’s pledge to support veterans, they also disproportionately harm voters in the areas that most strongly supported him."

Senator Elizabeth Warren Speaks About the Recently-Revealed GOP Health Care Bill

Mitch McConnell's Sh*tty "Healthcare" Abomination is a Massive Tax Cut for the Rich and That's the Entire Point

https://thedailybanter.com/2017/06/eat-the-poor/
"There's more but the most important thing to keep in mind is that Republicans are literally going to send people to their death so they can shower billions in unnecessary tax cuts to the rich. The Koch brothers will be able to buy a few more super yachts while tens of thousands of people die every year because they lost their heath insurance. Republicans are not doing this because they want to "fix" the system they deliberately broke. They don't actually care about fighting "big government" because they clearly like using oppressive government regulations to their own ends. The GOP doesn't even really care about the detrimental impact on the economy their bill will have outside of giving them a new excuse to cut food stamps for children. The bottom line is that this entire episode has to do with cutting taxes and making those cuts permanent. Period. End of line. Every other horrible thing that goes along with it (like erasing Obama and savagely hurting the poor) is just icing on the cake. But it's even worse because Republicans will use the "savings" gained by stealing healthcare from 23 million people to "pay" for a second set of tax cuts. So, really, the rich will be getting two separate tax cuts at our expense.  The AHCA is the result of a worldview based on a visceral hatred of the poor and middle class. There really isn't any other way to put it: Republicans despise every American that isn't part of their 1% club."

The face of Republican evil: It’s not Donald Trump

http://www.salon.com/2017/06/22/the-face-of-republican-evil-its-not-donald-trump/
"This Republican contempt for democracy was evident long before Trump started grasping for the presidential nomination with his stubby orange fingers. McConnell was so unwilling to accept the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s two substantial presidential election victories that the Republican leader refused to acknowledge Obama’s right to nominate a Supreme Court justice after Antonin Scalia’s death. Not only did that work out perfectly for McConnell — he got Neil Gorsuch onto the high court, instead of rightful nominee Merrick Garland — but it proved once and for all that bedrock conservative voters don’t care about niceties like the rule of law or government by the people. They just want to punish women for having sex and gripe about “Obama phones,” and don’t care if the price paid is the ultimate ruin of this country. Trump didn’t make Republicans corrupt. They were already there. That’s why he hasn’t really needed to do any arm-twisting or commit blackmail, no matter how much he’d like to, in order to get a GOP-controlled Congress willing to look the other way when presented with a growing pile of evidence that something weird is going on with Trump and the Russians. It’s easier to not care if Russian intelligence is actively seeking to subvert U.S. elections for those who aggressively try to deny voting rights to millions of Americans, especially people of color and younger voters who insist on voting for Democrats. At this point, the Republican rejection of democracy is an established fact. The only question is how far the ruling party is willing to take it. The antidemocratic, secretive process surrounding the GOP’s health care bill suggests there may be no real limit."

Sen. Brian Schatz: Senate GOP Bill 'Extremely Cruel'

Heartless! Senate Trumpcare Plan Every Bit as 'Ugly' and 'Cruel' as Expected

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/22/heartless-senate-trumpcare-plan-every-bit-ugly-and-cruel-expected
"After weeks of secrecy, the Senate GOP's Trumpcare plan—described as "a tax cut wrapped in the veneer of a healthcare bill" that could portend a "near-apocalyptic scenario for the poor"—was made available (pdf) to the public on Thursday and is largely living up to the gruesome expectations of analysts and critics."

WATCH: Capitol Police Drag Disabled Protesters Out Of McConnell's Office | Crooks and Liars

WATCH: Capitol Police Drag Disabled Protesters Out Of McConnell's Office | Crooks and Liars

"Senate Republicans have finally released a version of their healthcare bill. It was written in complete secrecy by 13 Senators, all of them wealthy. Of course, it's devastating to the 75 million Americans on Medicaid, does away with preexisting conditions, and is a boondoggle to the rich."

The gigantic lie in Mitch McConnell’s introduction of the Senate’s health care bill

https://thinkprogress.org/gigantic-lie-in-mcconnells-obamacare-repeal-speech-66498351bf9a
"As a candidate, Donald Trump promised not to cut Medicaid at all. If he signs this bill, or the House bill, it will represent one of the biggest broken promises of his presidency. After the Senate draft’s release, Trump noted that “it’s going to be negotiated.” Reaction on the Hill for Sen. McConnell was swift. People with disabilities staged a “die-in” outside his office over the Medicaid cuts. They were then arrested and dragged away."

Republicans Release Summary Of Senate Healthcare Bill, And It Is Terrifying

We Have Less Than a Week to Preserve the Health Care of 24 Million People

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41026-we-have-less-than-a-week-to-preserve-the-health-care-of-24-million-people
"I am asking you to act. Today, tomorrow, the next day, repeatedly, until this thing is dead. I am asking you to raise the alarm, call your senators and take direct action as though you are standing between 24 million people and a force of imminent destruction, because that's what this fight has come to. It is not enough, in this moment, to be informed, or even reiterate what you know to others. It is not enough to be a voter who believes in your civic duty. Forces that would kill disabled people, defund medical services for children, and rip health care away from the sick and dying are knocking at our door, and we have to push back."

Trumpcare tax cuts to nation's 400 wealthiest families is Medicaid blood money

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/22/1674114/-Trumpcare-tax-cuts-to-nation-s-400-wealthiest-families-is-Medicaid-blood-money
"The tax cuts for the wealthy bill masquerading as an Obamacare "replacement" bill destroys Medicaid, the 52-year-old program that covers 1 in 5 Americans, providing coverage from conception to grave. Half of all births, two-thirds of nursing home residents, a third of all adults with disabilities, three-quarters of poor children—that’s who Medicaid covers."

Arrests of Trumpcare Protesters, Some in Wheelchairs, Outside McConnell's Office

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/22/arrests-trumpcare-protesters-some-wheelchairs-outside-mcconnells-office
"Amid chants of "Don't Touch Medicaid!" and signs suggesting the same, many of those protesting the Senate bill were either elderly or in wheelchairs, offering a stunning visual as police tried to remove them from the hallway."

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Women's Health Care

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GOP Sneak Attack on Health Care Nears a Critical Moment—and It's a Total Monstrosity @alternet

GOP Sneak Attack on Health Care Nears a Critical Moment—and It's a Total Monstrosity @alternet:

"The fact is that Republicans are willing to destroy the health and financial security of millions of Americans so they can give massive tax cuts to Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and others like them who are lucky enough to be vastly wealthy. This is their first real chance to enact permanent tax cuts since 1986. (This Vox article explains why that is.) Republicans have been chasing this dream a very long time. It is their white whale, so important that even the prospect of millions of people suffering and going bankrupt is not enough to make them think better of it."

New bombshell report reveals Trump’s lengthy ties to Russian mobsters and money laundering

New bombshell report reveals Trump’s lengthy ties to Russian mobsters and money laundering

"A bombshell Bloomberg View report dropped Wednesday morning detailing President Donald Trump’s shadowy business partnerships with Russian investors on New York City real estate deals."

Maddow previews bombshell report linking Trump to Putin-connected money pouring into his real estate deals

Maddow previews bombshell report linking Trump to Putin-connected money pouring into his real estate deals

"On Tuesday night while the country was transfixed by the special election in Georgia’s 6th district, Rachel Maddow took a look at an upcoming report by Tim O’Brien of Bloomberg News, that may provide a road-map between financing of Donald Trump’s real estate deals and “money connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin"."

Robert Mueller Team Paints Picture Of Donald Trump Russia Investigation

Lawyers push to unseal documents about Mafia-linked ex-Trump associate

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-sater-mafia-mob-bayrock-russia-court-brooklyn-fraud-behar-627408
"Lawyers seeking to unseal documents related to the criminal past of a former business partner of President Donald Trump said in federal court on Monday that the documents may contain evidence that Trump committed fraud. The sealed documents are from a federal case against Felix Sater. Trump reportedly tapped Sater as a senior advisor for his real estate business in the 2000s even after Sater’s earlier role in a Mafia-linked stock scheme became public."

Trump’s new conservative Christian lawyer Jay Sekulow is just another right-wing grifter

Trump’s new conservative Christian lawyer Jay Sekulow is just another right-wing grifter

"Sekulow also serves as president of the Georgia-based nonprofit Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, or CASE, which raised more than $52 million in 2015, according to IRS records. Four of Sekulow’s family members — including his wife, Pam, and Gary Sekulow — serve as the board of directors for CASE, which transferred nearly $16 million to ACLJ and paid almost $1.2 million to businesses owned by Jay Sekulow. An analysis by The Tennesseean newspaper found ACLJ and CASE had paid out more than $33 million between 1998 and 2011 to members of Sekulow’s family or to businesses they own. Sekulow boasts that he’s taken no salary from ACLJ since 2002, but he has outsourced his own legal services to the group and became a private contractor. That role requires no public disclosure of his salary, which he told the Legal Times was “above $600,000 a year.” “Through the ACLJ and a string of interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, (Sekulow) has built a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle — complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” reported Legal Times. Former employees complained that Sekulow told them they were doing God’s work, while jetting off at donor expense — on private jets owned by his family — to play golf."

CIA's Mike Pompeo Ducks Senate Judiciary's Query

Special counsel Mueller also investigating possible ‘money laundering by Trump associates’

Special counsel Mueller also investigating possible ‘money laundering by Trump associates’

"In addition to investigating whether or not Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, special counsel Robert Mueller is also reportedly investigating “money laundering by Trump associates,” the New York Times reports. The Times report corroborates a separate bombshell Washington Post article, published Wednesday, that said in addition to possible obstruction, investigators are also “looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates"."

Who is buying Donald Trump's properties? It's a secret

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/14/1671786/-Who-is-buying-Donald-Trump-s-properties-It-s-a-secret
"Shell companies aren’t that unusual in real estate. What is unusual is the extent to which they’re being utilized to purchase Trump properties. Over the last 12 months, about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before. What’s particularly interesting about this is: It’s not the first time. A decade ago, when Donald Trump’s seventh bankruptcy had wiped out his ability to borrow, he was dragged back from the brink of financial failure by money from Russian oligarchs. That infusion of money came not only in the form of big investments in new building projects, it also came through a money-laundering scheme that created LLCs for the express purpose of grabbing Trump properties at premium prices. Among the dozens of companies the Almaty lawyers say the Khrapunov laundering network used were three called Soho 3310, Soho 3311 and Soho 3203. Each was a limited liability company, meaning their ownership could easily be concealed. What was sold then is a fraction of what secretive LLCs are buying from Trump today."

Democratic Senators Ask CBO For Copy Of Republican Secret Health Care Bill

Trump picks right-wing blogger for a judgeship, his confirmation hearing was a complete train wreck

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-picks-right-wing-blogger-for-a-judgeship-his-confirmation-hearing-went-just-as-youd-expect-a9d7c70ca9ef
"Here’s a pro tip. If you are a judicial nominee, and you have to spend much of your confirmation hearing denying that you endorsed birtherism, maybe “judge” isn’t the ideal job for you. And yet John Bush, a lawyer and conservative blogger who spent years publishing many of his most controversial opinions under a pseudonym, is in line to be a judge on a powerful federal appeals court. Given Bush’s prolific history as a political blogger, those opinions were on full display during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday."

Seth Meyers Delivers a Takedown of Senate Republicans to End All Takedowns of Senate Republicans @alternet

Seth Meyers Delivers a Takedown of Senate Republicans to End All Takedowns of Senate Republicans @alternet: Calls GOP's handling of health care bill 'one of the most cynical acts of governance in American history.' While much of the country is focused on Trump's expanding collusion scandal, the GOP is inching ever closer to passing the House's calamitous health care legislation.

Bernie Sanders On Secret Health Care Bill: "I'm Speechless"

Jeff Sessions is misleading Congress to advance his inhumane war on medical marijuana

Jeff Sessions is misleading Congress to advance his inhumane war on medical marijuana

"what Sessions is doing with this letter is wrong. It is disingenuous, underhanded, and incredibly counterproductive."

Here Are The Numbers that Prove Trump’s a Pathological Liar Who Can’t be Trusted

https://forwardprogressives.com/numbers-prove-trumps-pathological-liar-cant-trusted/
"As it stands on June 9, 2017 (the date I’m writing this), only 17 percent of what Trump says is honest, while a jaw-dropping 69 percent of the comments Politifact has investigated have been dishonest. Furthermore, 49 percent of these comments didn’t contain a shred of truth, earning Politifact’s two lowest scores for honesty of “False” and “Pants on Fire"."

Senator Elizabeth Warren Speaks on Health Care

Voting Machine Digital Ballot Images Could Let Public Recount Elections, But Many Locales Aren't Saving or Sharing This Data @alternet

Voting Machine Digital Ballot Images Could Let Public Recount Elections, But Many Locales Aren't Saving or Sharing This Data @alternet:

"These new digital systems scan paper ballots and create exact copies; enable trackability through each link of the chain-of-custody, reconcile ballots by precinct, and empower anyone to audit and verify election results."

WATCH: Samantha Bee Rips Attorney General Sessions on His Hideous Drug Policies @alternet

WATCH: Samantha Bee Rips Attorney General Sessions on His Hideous Drug Policies @alternet: The Full Frontal host slices and dices the 'apple-cheeked hate goblin' in a bleakly hilarious critique of his embrace of longer drug sentences. Samantha Bee ripped into Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his embrace of a return to harsh drug war sentencing policies on Full Frontal this week. By directing federal prosecutors to seek the most serious charges possible in drug cases, Sessions is undoing long overdue sentencing reforms embraced by both the Obama administration and Congress.

Sanders Floor Speech on Republican Health Care Plan

In an Aging Nation, Single-Payer Is the Alternative to Dying Under Austerity

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40930-in-an-aging-nation-single-payer-is-the-alternative-to-dying-under-austerity
"Meanwhile, the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that passed the House last month would gut ACA provisions that kept insurance companies from gouging older customers and cut $839 billion from Medicaid over the next decade. The bill would increase private insurance rates for older people with lower incomes and leave 5.1 million people between the ages of 50 and 65 without insurance by 2026, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Despite the popular misconception that Medicare covers all of seniors' health care needs, millions of Americans over 65 are also enrolled in Medicaid. Elderly people would certainly suffer if the program saw deep cuts. The proposed cuts to Medicaid are generally unpopular, and the Republican House bill has slumped in the polls. The repeal effort has recently stalled in the Senate due to deep divisions among Republicans. However, reports now indicate that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been hammering out a compromise on Medicaid behind closed doors, with the goal of holding a vote on a Senate repeal package before a July 4 recess. A repeal is not a given, but it will take a sustained push from those who value affordable health care for low-income and working families to prevent a repeal while the GOP has a majority in Congress. Amid this crucial resistance, a renewed push has also emerged for the creation of something different: a single-payer system. A House bill for a "Medicare for All" health plan has more co-sponsors than ever among progressive Democrats, and grassroots activists are rolling out campaigns across the country. When it comes to the issue of how to best serve elderly patients, advocates say guaranteeing health coverage for everyone would help prepare the system for an aging nation."

Trump, You're Debunked: California Has Added Jobs and Cut Emissions—at the Same Time @alternet

Trump, You're Debunked: California Has Added Jobs and Cut Emissions—at the Same Time @alternet:

"In withdrawing from the landmark Paris climate agreement June 1, President Trump tried to set up a false conflict between the "well-being of American citizens" and the "economic burden" of honoring commitments to reduce emissions. Yet California is hardly hurting as it leads the way on climate progress. Enacting climate-friendly policies has proven to be an economic asset to California, one that delivers cleaner air, jobs, and opportunity."

Franken: Where Is GOP's "Terrific" Health Care Bill Trump Promised? - Full Speech

Global renewables rise from the ashes of coal’s collapse

https://thinkprogress.org/biggest-drop-in-global-coal-production-ever-70177840e53d
"While President Donald Trump touts a new coal mine that provides fewer jobs than a typical supermarket, the world is switching off coal at a stunning pace to create millions of new clean energy jobs. World coal production had its biggest drop ever last year, 230 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe), BP reported Tuesday in its 2017 Statistical Review of World Energy. China led the way with a 7.9 percent decline in coal production (140 mtoe), followed by the U.S. with a 19 percent drop (85 mtoe). And while Trump is proposing to gut clean energy funding by a staggering 70 percent, the world saw the largest jump ever in renewable power production last year. Of particular note among BP’s findings regarding renewable energy: For the first time, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest producer of non-hydro renewables."

Donald Trump is handing the federal government over to fossil fuel interests

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/6/13/15681498/trump-government-fossil-fuels
"Trump has been erratic and unpredictable in many ways, but when it comes to fossil fuels, there is no wavering. The administration has moved with remarkable speed and consistency to prosecute the industry’s interests — stocking government agencies with industry-friendly staff, removing regulatory constraints, and hacking away at support for competitors — without any resistance from Congress or its base. The Washington Post calls the takeover of the federal government by fossil fuel interests a “breathtaking power grab.” But they didn’t have to grab anything. They barely had to lift a finger. Trump and the GOP are already united in doing their bidding."

Sen Klobuchar: MN Wants To Know What's In GOP Health Care Bill - Full Speech

The GOP is working stealthily to shred health and financial protections for ordinary Americans

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-is-working-stealthily-to-shred-health-and-financial-protections-for-ordinary-americans/2017/06/13/4ee9f190-4f8a-11e7-be25-3a519335381c_story.html?utm_term=.c4e92a02d540
"While Trump scandals dominate the headlines, Republicans are quietly working on legislation that could hurt millions."

How the Republican Coward Caucus is about to sell out its own constituents — in secret

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/06/13/how-the-republican-coward-caucus-is-about-to-sell-out-its-own-constituents-in-secret/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.7dbdf785eeef
"A bill of stunning cruelty, crafted in secret, and all that stands in its way is a bunch of weak-kneed GOP senators."

Sen Markey Blasts GOP Secretive Health Care Bill- Full Senate Speech

Trump’s brand of populism goes out of its way to help Wall Street

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-brand-populism-goes-out-its-way-help-wall-street
"In February, Trump spoke at CPAC and assured conservatives, “The GOP will be, from now on, the party also of the American worker…. We will not answer to donors or lobbyists or special interests.” It was as audacious a lie as any Trump has ever told."

Republicans lack public support for new health care scheme

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/republicans-lack-public-support-new-health-care-scheme
"Republicans are no doubt aware of this. Indeed, it helps explain why they’re trying so desperately to legislate in secret. But as an electoral matter, for GOP policymakers to ignore Americans’ attitudes on life-and-death legislation is to play with fire. Given partisan instincts and widespread tribalism, it takes effort to come up with a proposal as unpopular as the Republican health care plan – but they’ve managed to pull it off anyway."

Sen Cortez Masto: GOP Healthcare Bill "Insult" To American People- Full Speech On Senate Floor

Jeff Sessions moves forward with his regressive drug war

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/jeff-sessions-moves-forward-his-regressive-drug-war
"It was clear before the election that a Donald Trump victory would almost certainly take the country backwards on drug policy. Sessions is now helping prove the point."

Senate Trumpcare Bill As Devastating For People With Pre-Existing Conditions As House Version | Crooks and Liars

Senate Trumpcare Bill As Devastating For People With Pre-Existing Conditions As House Version | Crooks and Liars

"Senate Republicans are going to try to sell this bill as a kinder, gentler Trumpcare. Don't let them. If you have a Republican senator call them through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and let them know you won't be fooled."

Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren DESTROY "Cowardly" Republican Health Care Bill

Think you're safe from Trumpcare in your blue state? Think again

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/12/1671100/-Think-you-re-safe-from-Trumpcare-in-your-blue-state-Think-again
"There is really no one who will escape the disastrous effects of Trumpcare if it passes. If you've got a pre-existing condition, you're screwed. If you're on Medicare, you're not safe, either. If you're a child, it's potentially catastrophic. If you have insurance through your employer, you're sunk, too. You might feel shielded because you live in a blue state, with a Democratic governor or legislature, and you think the waivers for states that would make the Affordable Care Act's provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions won't be taken by your lawmakers. But that's probably not how it's going to work, say most experts, refuting the claim made by Republicans like Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) who told people not to get worked up"

Senate Republicans Hope You Won’t Notice They’re About to Repeal Obamacare

http://billmoyers.com/story/senate-republicans-hope-wont-notice-theyre-repeal-obamacare/
"Quickly and in secret — that’s how lawmakers operate when they’re about to pass legislation that is both harmful and deeply unpopular. Last week, while everyone was distracted by former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the Republican health care overhaul on fast track. His caucus is writing its bill in secret, and McConnell’s move means he could bring the legislation up for a vote anytime, without holding a single public hearing. All signs indicate that Senate Republicans are preparing to copy their colleagues in the House and jam through a massively destructive piece of legislation before the public knows what’s going on."

Democrats Push Back As GOP Sneaks Health Bill In Secrecy

Senate Republicans ask Trump administration to kneecap Obamacare

https://thinkprogress.org/senate-republicans-seek-end-to-obamacare-regulation-e4be39bb539b
"Even as they seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act, GOP lawmakers look for ways to undo it from the inside."

Senate Trumpcare bill as devastating for people with pre-existing conditions as the House version

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/12/1670435/-Senate-Trumpcare-bill-as-devastating-for-people-with-pre-existing-conditions-as-the-House-version
"As a result, people with pre-existing conditions in waiver states would face significantly higher costs and find it much harder to find insurance plans that actually covered treatment for even relatively common conditions such as mental health problems or diabetes."

Voter Suppression Accusations Against GOP Persist

The Unstoppable Green Power Revolution

The Unstoppable Green Power Revolution:

"Now we have the Trump/Koch oligarchs fighting renewables at every turn. They are rushing to assure Detroit that fuel efficiency is once again not a concern and electric cars will never come. They are working to pull back investments and progress in renewables. The jobs, says Trump, are in the coal mines and pipelines, and in subsidized oil and gas fracking projects. Trump is trying to lead the nation in the wrong direction. More than a quarter-million Americans now work in the solar industry. Almost a hundred thousand more work in wind. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, jobs dedicated to increasing energy efficiency employed more than 830,000 in 2014, with up to 1.9 million possible by 2050. Musk’s SolarCity, part of a burgeoning project known as the Buffalo Billion, will be by far that city’s biggest employer, and installing the solar panels it produces will employ thousands more. According to the Independent, more Americans now work in solar power than in all of America’s coal mines, oil fields, and gas extraction operations combined."

Trump budget would devastate vulnerable Southern communities

https://www.facingsouth.org/2017/05/trump-budget-would-devastate-vulnerable-southern-communities
"Southern communities where poverty rates and food insecurity are high and employment opportunities are scarce would feel the cuts particularly hard."

Trump Infrastructure Plan Lays the Foundation to Build Corporate Corruption and Greed

Donald Trump in Wonderland: Literally everything our president says and does reflects the opposite of reality

http://www.salon.com/2017/06/13/donald-trump-in-wonderland-literally-everything-our-president-says-and-does-reflects-the-opposite-of-reality/
"Everything that’s real is fake and everything that’s fake is real."

Donald Trump "loves those vets" but blocked a veterans group on Twitter

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/13/15792822/trump-twitter-blocks-vote-vets-progressive-twitter-war
"The president’s Twitter account is an official arm of the White House. If veterans choose to address the Trump by tweeting at him, it’s likely because that seems to be his most favored method of communication — at all hours of the day and night. And being president means Trump doesn’t really have the luxury of picking and choosing which veterans he commands. He commands all of them. And if they have a grievance, it would behoove him to listen, rather than close his virtual ears."

Trump Cutting Drug Treatment Programs Mid-Opioid Epidemic

Trump's lies and Russian propaganda become a potent and inseparable weapon

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/9/1669164/-Trump-s-lies-and-Russian-propaganda-become-a-potent-and-inseparable-weapon
"Donald Trump is no friend of the truth—he's got no mind for details, lies liberally whenever it suits him, is uniquely vulnerable to conspiracy theories and perhaps has no grasp on reality at all. But Trump's penchant for telling bold-faced lies has become extra dangerous in the hands of a diffuse network of Russian operatives and bots. As former FBI agent and cybersecurity expert Clint Watts explained to NPR in April, the tag-team effect of Russian media playing off Trump and vice versa is like a revolving door of misinformation."

Putin, Russia, The Religious Right – And The Trump Base

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/9/1670247/-Putin-Russia-The-Religious-Right-And-The-Trump-Base
"One of the less well-reported stories of Russia's role in American public life is the relationship between Moscow and key players of movement conservatism – particularly among those of the Religious Right. Indeed, it may very well explain how the president may be maintaining his popularity among one of his core constituencies. As recent as a decade ago if any objective political observer were to have warned about an admiration of Russian political motives by anyone on the American Right, the commentary would have been met with highly audible guffaws. Not anymore. This is not your father’s Russia. Indeed, Russia is clearly on the path to becoming an authoritarian state tinged with Mussolini-style fascism.  President Putin has displayed a particular disdain for Western liberal democracy, evidenced by the way he has surrounded himself with, vehemently anti-liberal thinkers. Alexander Dugin immediately comes to mind. It is in Dugin’s writings and pronouncements that we begin to understand why many fringe conservatives; especially those of the Religious Right would admire Putin’s increasingly authoritarian agenda."

Naomi Klein: How to Resist Trump's Shock Doctrine

Crafted by Wall Street Titans, Trump Treasury Plan Latest Consumer Betrayal

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/13/crafted-wall-street-titans-trump-treasury-plan-latest-consumer-betrayal
"But as Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) noted, the industry couldn't have been surprised by the report's contents, given that banking groups were consulted heavily during its creation. As Brown wrote in a statement, "Treasury consulted with banking industry groups at a ratio of 17-to-1 over consumer groups when formulating the report." Brown concluded by providing a list that starkly illustrates where Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, looked for advice. Government Entities: 18 Consumer Advocates: 14 Academics: 13 Think Tanks: 15 Banking Industry Groups: 244"

Jeff Sessions continues his obsession with a war on drugs, this time targeting medical marijuana

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/13/1671413/-Jeff-Sessions-continues-his-obsession-with-a-war-on-drugs-this-time-targeting-medical-marijuana
"Cracking down on medical marijuana doesn’t seem to have support from anyone, not some Republicans, not even from Trump himself. When he was a candidate, he supported the right of states to decide on their own policies as well as state-level medical marijuana regulations. Then again, he gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “the devil is a liar.” No one knows what Trump really believes. Does he even know? It’s doubtful. What we do know, however, is that he and this entire administration specialize in deceit and harm."

Full Interview: Naomi Klein on "No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics"

The Worst of Donald Trump’s Toxic Agenda Is Lying in Wait – A Major U.S. Crisis Will Unleash It

https://theintercept.com/2017/06/10/the-worst-of-donald-trumps-toxic-agenda-is-lying-in-wait-a-major-u-s-crisis-will-unleash-it/
"A centerpiece of Trump’s economic project so far has been a flurry of financial deregulation that makes economic shocks and disasters distinctly more likely. Trump has announced plans to dismantle Dodd-Frank, the most substantive piece of legislation introduced after the 2008 banking collapse. Dodd-Frank wasn’t tough enough, but its absence will liberate Wall Street to go wild blowing new bubbles, which will inevitably burst, creating new economic shocks. Trump and his team are not unaware of this, they are simply unconcerned — the profits from those market bubbles are too tantalizing. Besides, they know that since the banks were never broken up, they are still too big to fail, which means that if it all comes crashing down, they will be bailed out again, just like in 2008. (In fact, Trump issued an executive order calling for a review of the specific part of Dodd-Frank designed to prevent taxpayers from being stuck with the bill for another such bailout — an ominous sign, especially with so many former Goldman executives making White House policy.) Some members of the administration surely also see a few coveted policy options opening up in the wake of a good market shock or two. During the campaign, Trump courted voters by promising not to touch Social Security or Medicare. But that may well be untenable, given the deep tax cuts on the way (and the fictional math beneath the claims that they will pay for themselves). His proposed budget already begins the attack on Social Security and an economic crisis would give Trump a handy excuse to abandon those promises altogether. In the midst of a moment being sold to the public as economic Armageddon, Betsy DeVos might even have a shot at realizing her dream of replacing public schools with a system based on vouchers and charters."

Republican Healthcare Plan Will Cost U.S. 1 Million Jobs, At Least

The House GOP health care bill is a job killer, says a new report

https://thinkprogress.org/ahca-job-killer-new-york-11c09483dde0
"In addition to potentially increasing the number of uninsured by 23 million and being unequivocally unpopular, House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan could leave nearly a million people unemployed."

The Emerging Senate Repeal Bill Eviscerates Protections for Millions in Employer Plans Nationwide

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2017/06/15/434042/emerging-senate-repeal-bill-eviscerates-protections-millions-employer-plans-nationwide/
"The Republican bill’s waivers of essential health benefits threaten coverage not just for the individual market but also for the roughly 134 million Americans covered through large employers. Unlimited coverage for basic services like mental health, prescription drugs, and maternity coverage could disappear. Without it, cancer patients would not be able to access life-saving drugs, families would not be able to help a loved one obtain substance-abuse treatment, and new mothers would take home both babies and medical debt. For too long, many American families—even those with health insurance—were just one illness away from bankruptcy, or faced the prospect of forgoing care for conditions excluded from coverage. The Senate must not return Americans to that time."

CEOs Are Already Calling Trump’s Presidency A Failure

Trump Officials Overseeing Health Care Overhaul Previously Lobbied for Health Insurance Firms

https://theintercept.com/2017/06/15/hhs-trump-health-care-insurance-lobbyists-aca-repeal/
"THE POLITICAL APPOINTEES tapped by President Donald Trump to oversee federal health care programs — including the potential transition to a new Republican bill to replace the Affordable Care Act — joined the government just after working as lobbyists and attorneys for the largest health care interests in America."

DOE closing office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/15/1672141/-DOE-closing-office-that-works-with-other-countries-to-develop-clean-energy-technology
"Wind energy is the fastest growing energy source. The fastest growing job in America is wind turbine service technician. Together, wind and solar reached 10 percent of America’s energy production last month for the first time. So clearly this is the ideal time to destroy the office that develops clean energy technology."

Trump Appears to Be Self-Destructing | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

‘Count me out’: Conservative staffers have no desire to work for ‘radioactive’ Trump administration

‘Count me out’: Conservative staffers have no desire to work for ‘radioactive’ Trump administration

"According to the Washington Post, many positions in President Donald Trump’s administration remain unfilled because potential staffers are turned off by the volatile nature of the current White House."

Trump’s temperament and ongoing legal troubles are scaring off potential candidates for top posts

https://thinkprogress.org/trumps-temperament-and-ongoing-legal-troubles-are-scaring-off-potential-candidates-for-top-posts-b81873edcc03
"President Donald Trump’s volatile temperament, an intensifying investigation into his aides’ possible collusion with Russia, and his firing of FBI Director James Comey, have made it a challenge to recruit and fill top leadership posts across the government, according to the Washington Post."

Jeff Sessions Asked Congress For Authority To Arrest Medical Marijuana Distributors

Trump owes millions to banks lobbying the government

Trump owes millions to banks lobbying the government

"Financial disclosure documents released Friday by the Office of Government Ethics shed new light on President Trump’s finances, even as he refuses to release his tax returns. The documents show that Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to major financial institutions -- some with business before Trump’s administration."

In virtually unprecedented move, Trump Solicitor General switches sides in Murphy Oil case

In virtually unprecedented move, Trump Solicitor General switches sides in Murphy Oil case

"the Acting Solicitor General switched the government’s position in National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc, from arguing in favor of working people to arguing in favor of big business. The move is deeply disappointing, and represents a stark departure from standard practice. It is the clearest indication yet of where the Trump administration stands: with corporate interests and against working people."

Trump's Infrastructure Plan Funnels Your Taxes To His Billionaire Friends

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Trump’s indifference to Russia’s election attack raises alarm

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-indifference-russias-election-attack-raises-alarm
"Trump is quite pleased with the result of Russia’s espionage operation against our democracy – it helped put him in the White House – and the greater the focus on the crime, the more reason Americans have to question the legitimacy of his presidency. It’s not surprising that Trump finds all of this terribly inconvenient. But the end result is nevertheless untenable. A foreign adversary attacked the United States, and the American president is inclined to do nothing – ask no questions, express no anger, seek no retribution, hold no one responsible – except welcome the foreign adversary’s officials into the Oval Office for a friendly chat, and satisfy the foreign adversary’s foreign policy goals."

State-by-State Estimates of the AHCA’s 2018 Rate Hikes and Age Tax

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2017/06/15/434320/state-state-estimates-ahcas-2018-rate-hikes-age-tax/
"For example, the average 64-year-old West Virginian making an income of $26,500 in 2026 would pay a net premium of $22,400 per year under the AHCA, compared with just $1,700 per year under the ACA—a $20,700 increase in annual costs. The age tax would be much higher in states where health care costs are high. The ACA subsidies would ensure that a similar Alaskan would pay only $1,700 for coverage, but under the AHCA, that person would owe $49,070 toward coverage. Thus, the AHCA’s age tax in Alaska would be more than $47,000 per year."

I’ve covered Obamacare since day one. I’ve never seen lying and obstruction like this.

https://www.vox.com/health-care/2017/6/15/15807986/obamacare-lies-obstruction
"Republicans do not want the country to know what is in their health care bill. This has become more evident each day, as the Senate plots out a secretive path toward Obamacare repeal — and top White House officials (including the president) consistently lie about what the House bill actually does. There was even a brief moment Tuesday where Senate Republicans flirted with the idea of banning on-camera interviews in congressional hallways, a plan quickly reversed after outcry from the press. “The extreme secrecy is a situation without precedent, at least in creating health care law” writes Julie Rovner, who has covered health care politics since 1986 and is arguably the dean of the DC health care press corps."

Senate Republicans intend to ram through secret health care bill

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/senate-republicans-intend-ram-through-secret-health-care-bill
"In the meantime, there’s still the underlying scandal of how the bill is being constructed: in a process unlike anything in the American tradition, Republicans are still trying to overhaul behind closed doors, in total secrecy, without so much as a single committee hearing. Even many GOP lawmakers have publicly conceded that they have no idea what their party has in mind because Republican members of the Senate “working group” haven’t shared the uncompleted bill. Several GOP senators have complained about the process, but none of them has used his or her power to change the party’s strategy. For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters this week that “nobody is hiding the ball here” and people are “free to ask anybody anything.” This is, of course, ridiculous. McConnell is trying to pass a secret bill that affects one-sixth of the world’s largest economy, and which will have a life-or-death impact on millions of Americans. Because he knows the bill will be unpopular, he’s keeping it hidden, even from many of his own members. The fact that we’re all “free to ask anybody anything” is irrelevant – since the only people with answers about the legislation refuse to share information with the public."

Donald Trump Assembles Odd Mix Of Defense Lawyers

Of Course Republicans Are Passing Trumpcare in Secret

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/of-course-republicans-are-passing-trumpcare-in-secret-w487691
"If you're writing a bill to take health care away from millions of people to give a tax cut to the wealthy, you probably aren't overly concerned about the morality of the process."

The scandalous secrecy surrounding the Republican health care gambit

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-scandalous-secrecy-surrounding-the-republican-health-care-gambit
"Republicans had a choice. They could’ve acted like a governing party, pursued their goals like grown-ups, and adopted a sensible legislative strategy built on evidence, consensus, expertise, and outcomes. No one forced, or even asked, GOP lawmakers to conduct themselves in such a ridiculous fashion. But they chose this course anyway, largely because they saw it as necessary to achieve their regressive and ideological goals. If more Americans knew what was transpiring in their name, Republicans would be facing an extraordinary backlash – which is precisely why they’re clinging to secrecy with all their might."

Trump slams the “mean” health care law he once celebrated

http://www.salon.com/2017/06/14/trump-slams-the-mean-health-care-law-he-once-celebrated/
"President Donald Trump has privately referred to the House Republicans’ health care bill as “mean,” despite previously hailing it as a superior alternative to the Affordable Care Act."

Lawrence On 'The Cancer On The Donald Trump Presidency'

Republicans betray their gray-haired base with Trumpcare

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/11/1669887/-Republicans-betray-their-gray-haired-base-with-Trumpcare
"the GOP’s plan to “repeal and replace” Obamacare will hit Trump voters hardest. It’s no mystery as to why. As the New York Times explained, “The Republican plan offers less assistance to older and lower income Americans, especially in rural areas.” Due to the lack of competition for insurers and health care providers, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) documented, 12 of the 15 states hardest hit by the AHCA’s shriveled tax credits are rural ones. Fourteen of the 15 voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016. And with the GOP’s plan to redirect $880 billion in Medicaid spending to tax cuts for the richest Americans, older Americans—especially those near the poverty line—will face catastrophic increases in premiums, rendering health insurance an impossible acquisition"

‘That is autocracy’: Russian journalist explains how Trump has already set America down a dangerous path

‘That is autocracy’: Russian journalist explains how Trump has already set America down a dangerous path

"Specifically, she notes that such supposedly “incompetent” governing is actually a staple feature of many autocratic regimes."

Donald Trump's Tweets Destroying His Presidency

Donald Trump Isn't Just Being Investigated for Collusion with Russia @alternet

Donald Trump Isn't Just Being Investigated for Collusion with Russia @alternet:

"In addition to investigating whether or not Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, special counsel Robert Mueller is also reportedly investigating “money laundering by Trump associates,” the New York Times reports. The Times report corroborates a separate bombshell Washington Post article, published Wednesday, that said in addition to possible obstruction, investigators are also “looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates.” “A former senior official said Mr. Mueller’s investigation was looking at money laundering by Trump associates,” a source told the Times. “The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would most likely have been done in exchange for some kind of financial payoff, and that there would have been an effort to hide the payoffs, most likely by routing them through offshore banking centers.” A separate investigation into Russia has also reportedly focused on potential use of offshore banking centers to launder money. In April, House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) visited Cyrpus, which “has a reputation as a laundromat for the Russians who are trying to avoid sanctions"."

Meet the all-star legal team who may take down Trump

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/15/15783384/trump-mueller-team-russia-investigation-dreeben-weissman-quarles-rhee-zebley
"Led by special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, the team includes heavy hitters like Michael Dreeben, an expert on criminal law who has argued more than 100 cases in front of the Supreme Court, and Andrew Weissmann, a seasoned prosecutor who’s spent his career going after organized crime. Adding to the firepower are James Quarles, a former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate investigation; Jeannie Rhee, a former senior adviser to former Attorney General Eric Holder and a white-collar crime specialist; and Aaron Zebley, a cybersecurity expert who spent decades in the FBI before joining a private practice. The appointments come amid growing signs that Trump himself is in Mueller’s crosshairs: On Tuesday night, the Washington Post reported that the special counsel was directly investigating whether the president’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey was an effort to obstruct justice. The Mueller team is setting up interviews with the nation’s top intelligence officials to find out whether Trump had asked them to try to persuade Comey to drop the FBI’s probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to the Post. The New York Times, meanwhile, reported Tuesday night that Mueller was also looking into possible money laundering by Trump campaign staffers and associates."

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mike Pence Hires Lawyer With Relevant Experience; Robert Mueller Builds Team

How Russia Targets the U.S. Military

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/12/how-russia-targets-the-us-military-215247
"With hacks, pro-Putin trolls and fake news, the Kremlin is ratcheting up its efforts to turn American servicemembers and veterans into a fifth column."

Donald Trump Has Lost All Touch with Reality Less Than Six Months in Office @alternet

Donald Trump Has Lost All Touch with Reality Less Than Six Months in Office @alternet:

"Nothing Trump says is real or accurate — nothing. Even discussing his statements as if they’re mere off-the-shelf political lies serves to only normalize him when, in fact, what he’s doing is galactically destructive. The world has lost faith in America’s leadership or is losing it fast. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe Trump has gone bye-bye. Why? Because his fictitiousness is so completely obvious that we have no choice but to wonder whether he’s mentally fit to lead. (He’s not.)"

Meanwhile, Trump's Budget Is A Betrayal Of Everything Americans Claim To Value | Crooks and Liars

Meanwhile, Trump's Budget Is A Betrayal Of Everything Americans Claim To Value | Crooks and Liars

"This budget is a shot across the bow of Western Democracy itself, and even some Congressional Republicans don't want to touch it, despite how closely it resembles traditional GOP scripture. That's a good thing, too - it means that the GOP is either getting worried about the optics of defending the indefensible or that The Truth About Trump is sinking in at last. That truth is this: when he doesn't rely on assumptions or faulty math to govern, Trump relies on bluster - and when that fails, he's got nothing to stand on. Putting laughable math and hideous ethics into writing - into budget proposal form - makes these things concrete in a way that all of the political rhetoric in the world can't."

NY AG: What Donald Trump's History Of Litigation Means For Russia Probe

Trump’s cuts to energy efficiency will cost jobs and taxpayer money, report finds

https://thinkprogress.org/energy-efficiency-programs-create-jobs-f691a7ada4f6
"Supporters of the Energy Star program cite the high return on investment for taxpayers. Since it was established in the 1990s, the program has saved U.S. consumers roughly $360 billion, mostly in electricity and water costs. The program, jointly run by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, also saved consumers and businesses $31.5 billion in 2014 alone, while costing about $57 million a year. That puts the return on investment for taxpayers at about 550 to 1."

Vodka company expertly trolls Trump with new ‘Made in America, but…’ ad campaign

Vodka company expertly trolls Trump with new ‘Made in America, but…’ ad campaign

"The company’s new posters say, “Made in America, but we’d be happy to talk about our ties to Russia under oath"."

States Challenge Scott Pruitt's Decision to Keep Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Food Supply

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40875-states-challenge-scott-pruitt-s-decision-to-keep-pesticide-linked-to-brain-damage-in-food-supply
"Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is facing a challenge from seven states over his decision to ditch an EPA proposal that would have prevented a pesticide linked to brain damage in children from contaminating the food supply."

Donald Trump Admin Takes Lawrence's Advice To 'Lawyer Up'

Why Trump's So-Called Infrastructure Plan Is Good for Wall Street But Bad for America

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/06/07/why-trumps-so-called-infrastructure-plan-good-wall-street-bad-america
"Donald Trump’s so-called infrastructure plan is a huge giveaway to Wall Street that fails to create the millions of jobs we need to modernize our roads, bridges, water systems, rail, airports, levees and dams. At a time when the American Society of Civil Engineers says we need to spend $2 trillion above current spending levels just to get our infrastructure back to a state of good repair, Trump actually cuts direct federal spending on our crumbling infrastructure by nearly $145 billion over the next decade. This would force state and local governments to shoulder more of the financial burden for our infrastructure needs at a time when they can least afford it. Just like Trump’s “health care” bill is actually a $231 billion tax cut for the top 2 percent, his infrastructure plan would create $200 billion in new tax loopholes and other giveaways for wealthy investors, and it would reward corporations that have stashed their profits overseas with huge tax cuts. Under Trump’s proposal, billionaires on Wall Street, wealthy campaign contributors and even foreign governments would receive hundreds of billions in tax breaks to purchase our highways, airports, and water treatment plants. They would then be allowed to impose huge new tolls and fees on the backs of American commuters and homeowners. The reality is that Trump’s plan to sell off our nation’s highways, bridges, and other vital infrastructure to Wall Street, private investors, and foreign governments is an old idea that does not work."

Republican Offers Familiar Cruelty With Rare Honesty: 'I Don't Support Livable Wage'

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/07/republican-offers-familiar-cruelty-rare-honesty-i-dont-support-livable-wage
"Republican Karen Handel delivered her opponent what one commentator called a "gift-wrapped present" Tuesday night by declaring her opposition to a livable wage. "I do not support a livable wage," she said, adding that this is "an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative"."

EPA Admits Delaying Air Pollution Rule Will Harm Children, Delays It Anyway

BP’s defense attorney tapped for Trump’s environmental team

https://thinkprogress.org/bps-defense-attorney-tapped-for-trump-s-environmental-team-31152a559c72
"After BP’s massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig blowout and subsequent oil spill, Clark successfully defended the company against “a multibillion-dollar appeal brought by 11 Louisiana parishes,” his law firm says. Clark was also lead counsel on BP’s appeal of the historic damages awarded in the Deepwater Horizon case, which was prosecuted by the same division of the Justice Department that Clark will run, if confirmed."

Canada prepares for an era in which it can’t count on the U.S.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/canada-prepares-era-which-it-cant-count-the-us
"Not to put too fine a point on this, but we appear to be watching a new world order unfold. Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Australia – these aren’t just countries the United States has occasionally partnered with over the years for the sake of temporary convenience. These are core allies whose friendships have served as a generations-long foundation – through Democratic and Republican administrations – for stability throughout the Western world. When then-President Barack Obama last visited Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the United States and Canada are “closer than friends” and “more like siblings.” Just one year later, however, Trudeau’s foreign minister is openly exploring a vision for the future in which our neighbor can no longer count on us to take on the leadership role we’ve traditionally embraced."

Chris Hayes Explains The ‘Shameless’ Mitch McConnell Doctrine

Kansas Republicans end the state’s failed tax reform experiment

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/7/15753510/kansas-brownback-tax-reform
"Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax reform closely mirrors the tax plan that President Donald Trump is trying to get through Congress. In fact, they were designed by the same supply-side economists."

Workers Beware! Under Trump, Reaganomics Is Back and Worse Than Ever @alternet

Workers Beware! Under Trump, Reaganomics Is Back and Worse Than Ever @alternet:

"Reaganomics was an abject failure as an economic program. Inflation came down but that was the only achievement. Growth returned but average wages, however measured, stopped growing altogether, whereas they had been growing steadily since the early 1950s. Income inequality started to rise rapidly from early in Reagan’s first term and didn’t stop. The greatest of ironies is that capital investment was tepid and the source of economic growth, productivity, grew only moderately, the opposite of the takeoff that was promised. George W. Bush reinstated the Reaganomics philosophy with his own major tax cuts, again mostly funneled to the wealthy. The recovery and expansion that followed created the fewest jobs of any expansion since World War II. What economic growth there was had been fueled by the speculation in residential housing that led to the crash of 2008, the year Bush left office. Trump’s proposed tax cuts are far more radical than those of Bush, and more on a par with Reagan’s. They would be another unjustifiable gift to the wealthy."

Chris Hayes: GOP Drafting Secret Health Care Bill

Trump administration quietly rolls back civil rights efforts across federal government

Trump administration quietly rolls back civil rights efforts across federal government

"For decades, the Department of Justice has used court-enforced agreements to protect civil rights, successfully desegregating school systems, reforming police departments, ensuring access for the disabled and defending the religious. Now, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ appears to be turning away from this storied tool, called consent decrees. Top officials in the DOJ civil rights division have issued verbal instructions through the ranks to seek settlements without consent decrees — which would result in no continuing court oversight. The move is just one part of a move by the Trump administration to limit federal civil rights enforcement. Other departments have scaled back the power of their internal divisions that monitor such abuses. In a previously unreported development, the Education Department last week reversed an Obama-era reform that broadened the agency’s approach to protecting rights of students. The Labor Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have also announced sweeping cuts to their enforcement."

We asked 8 Senate Republicans to explain what their health bill is trying to do

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/16/15810524/senate-ahca-explain-please
"Senate Republicans can't answer simple and critical questions about the health care bill they're crafting in secret. Some still can't say what it's trying to do — other than garner enough votes to pass the Senate — or how they believe it will improve the American health care system."

Republicans Don't Know What's In Their Own Health Care Bill

Kansas’ Disastrous Experiment in Trickle-Down Economics Is Finally Over

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/06/kansas-disastrous-experiment-in-trickle-down-economics-is-finally-over/
"Brownback’s troubles could serve as a cautionary tale for national Republicans. Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are determined to reform the country’s tax code, on the same principle of reducing rates on the wealthy to stimulate job growth. But if they want to convince voters that a handout to the wealthy won’t blow up the national deficit, the cautionary tale out of Kansas has made their task that much harder."

Trump White House moves from lies to authoritarian-style propaganda

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/06/07/trump-white-house-moves-lies-authoritarian-style-propaganda/216810
"Lying about public policy has become standard practice for the Trump White House, as well as leaders of the Republican Party. There seems to be no baseless claim this administration isn’t willing to make."

Jeff Sessions: Civil Rights Wrecking Ball

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trump Budget Enables Sale of America's Wild Horses to Foreign Slaughter: Here Are 5 Better Ideas @alternet

Trump Budget Enables Sale of America's Wild Horses to Foreign Slaughter: Here Are 5 Better Ideas @alternet:

"President Trump’s proposed federal budget adds up to disaster for America’s wild horses. Faced with a continued failure to provide horses under federal “management” the care they are entitled to by law, the budget would cut $10 million from the Bureau of Land Management’s funding for wild horses, and enable the sale of these American icons to slaughter, ending up as meat on foreign dinner plates."

President Trump's Team Desperate To Explain James Comey Firing

Special counsel Mueller also investigating possible ‘money laundering by Trump associates’

Special counsel Mueller also investigating possible ‘money laundering by Trump associates’

"In addition to investigating whether or not Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, special counsel Robert Mueller is also reportedly investigating “money laundering by Trump associates,” the New York Times reports. The Times report corroborates a separate bombshell Washington Post article, published Wednesday, that said in addition to possible obstruction, investigators are also “looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates"."

Dear President Trump: ‘Obstruction of justice’ doesn’t mean what you think it means

https://thinkprogress.org/someone-needs-to-explain-obstruction-of-justice-to-donald-trump-ff78862b7f3
"On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the special investigation into the Trump campaign and the Russian hacking of the 2016 election now also encompasses whether President Donald Trump might be guilty of obstruction of justice. That investigation, the report says, likely stems from Trump firing FBI director James Comey, who was in charge of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt in a televised interview that he had the Russia investigation in mind when he decided to fire Comey."

Donald Trump Now Under Investigation For Possible Obstruction

Sam Brownback’s trickle-down “experiment” has officially failed

http://www.salon.com/2017/06/07/sam-brownbacks-trickle-down-experiment-has-officially-failed/
"But the real joke is that Kansas’ failed tax experiment was crafted and endorsed by the most influential conservatives in the country and closely mirrors President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan. In fact, both plans were designed by the same right-wing economists."

How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/07/world/europe/anatomy-of-fake-news-russian-propaganda.html
"After The New York Times asked about the article, it was deleted from the FoxNews.com website."

BUSTED: Key parts of Sessions’ testimony were just contradicted by this oil lobbyist

BUSTED: Key parts of Sessions’ testimony were just contradicted by this oil lobbyist

"The Guardian reports that Richard Burt, who served as ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration and who has lobbied on behalf of a pipeline company that’s now controlled by Russian state-owned energy conglomerate Gazprom, has admitted to attending two dinners organized by Sessions last year during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. “I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions,” Burt told the Guardian. This is notable, writes the Guardian, because “Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign"."

Sean Spicer Says Trump Never Said He Would Testify Under Oath. He Said It 4 Days Ago.

8 Years Ago: Fox News Declares Poupon Mustard Wars On Obama | Crooks and Liars

8 Years Ago: Fox News Declares Poupon Mustard Wars On Obama | Crooks and Liars

"The story was featured on Sean Hannity's show, Hannity's America, as a screen showed a photoshopped image of Obama surrounded by bottles of mustard with the words "PRESIDENT POUPON" plastered on a red and white banner. Let that soak in for a minute. Trump tweeted his support for Fox News Friday, commending them for the network’s morning show Fox And Friends' "great reporting" job on ex-FBI Director James Comey’s Thursday testimony. The network’s rejection of Obama's taste palette compared to its incredible support of the embattled Trump White House was seen by Twitter users as shocking at best, and propagandistic at worst."

This Is the Second Time Trump Has Screwed Over Dying Children by Diverting Charitable Donations @alternet

This Is the Second Time Trump Has Screwed Over Dying Children by Diverting Charitable Donations @alternet:

"Withholding charitable donations from dying children is generally considered among the lowest of the lows humanity can reach, so it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump has touched the bottom. More than once, apparently. While the details of the Skolnik story differ from the findings of the Forbes investigation, the theme of Trump’s selfishness and power-grubbing remain the same.  In the case examined by Forbes, Trump overcharged his son’s charity for use of his golf club and other amenities in order to turn a profit."

NY attorney general eyes investigation of Eric Trump Foundation after damning ‘self-dealing’ report

NY attorney general eyes investigation of Eric Trump Foundation after damning ‘self-dealing’ report

"The New York Attorney General’s office announced on Friday that it is “looking into” the Eric Trump Foundation — a children’s cancer fund — for what appears to be an “indirect act of self-dealing.” Forbes.com reported that after months of investigating the Donald Trump Foundation, AG Eric Schneidermann’s office will now focus on President Trump’s son Eric after report’s surfaced this week that the cancer fund had diverted donations to Trump family businesses."

Senator Al Franken Says Jeff Sessions Violated His Recusal (Exclusive)

Office Of Special Counsel: Trump’s Social Media Director Violated Hatch Act

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/dan-scavino-violates-hatch-act
"President Donald Trump’s official social media director was found to have violated the Hatch Act on Friday, for invoking his White House position while engaging in a political attack, the Office of Special Counsel wrote in a letter dated June 5."

On secret recording, House Republican admits Trump’s antics making it hard for her to get reelected

https://thinkprogress.org/martha-mcsally-says-trump-circus-hurting-her-c24e6b00752
"But McSally should look in the mirror as well. She’s voted in total lockstep with Trump’s positions. During a closed-door meeting with her House Republican colleagues ahead of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) last month — a bill that has an approval rating of roughly 21 percent — she reportedly exhorted them by saying, “Let’s get this f***ing thing done!” McSally’s not-meant-for-public-consumption criticism of Trump is notable for how it differs from what Republicans continue to say about the president in public. There are indications, however, that her sentiments are shared by some of her colleagues in private. Publicly, Republican members of Congress mostly defended Trump and ran interference for him during and after the Comey hearing, but privately, Politico reported that a number of them “were absolutely shocked at how poorly yesterday went for the president.”

How Many Lies Did You Count During Jeff Sessions' Testimony?

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a55625/jeff-sessions-testimony-falsehoods/
"Democracy is helpless against this kind of contempt, especially if its primary institutions surrender to it without a fight, the way they did on Tuesday. To be plain, because of his continual assertion of an "appropriateness" privilege—which does not exist in the Constitution or the laws of this country—in order to avoid answering questions under oath, JeffBo should be residing in a holding cell right now until he changes his mind. (It's very possible that Dan Coats and Mike Rogers should temporarily be his bunkmates, too. And the consistency of the testimony of all three men suggests a certain amount of, ah, coordination at other levels.) You just don't get to refuse to answer questions before a Senate committee because you don't want to, or because you think you might get the president* in Dutch, or because you don't like the people asking the questions. The Bartleby defense—"I would prefer not to…"—has no basis in constitutional or criminal law. There is no, as Senator Martin Heinrich put it to JeffBo, "appropriateness bucket" in which the attorney general can hide himself. Yet, there he was at the end of things, being flattered by the committee's chairman, Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, for the immense sacrifice JeffBo had made in coming in and being transparently ridiculous on camera for a couple of hours."

Jeff Sessions Stonewalls Congress... Will It Work?

Here’s why ‘100 percent’ means nothing: Trump has long history of lying under oath

Here’s why ‘100 percent’ means nothing: Trump has long history of lying under oath

"the president has a history of lying under oath, so much so that his own bankruptcy lawyers would only meet with him in pairs in order to have a witness to every word that came out of his mouth. In one sworn deposition from 2007, according to the Washington Post, Trump told 30 lies in two days."

WATCH: Trump claims he’d never demand loyalty — CNN plays video of him doing just that

WATCH: Trump claims he’d never demand loyalty — CNN plays video of him doing just that

"President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he would never demand a pledge of allegiance from anyone. However, he’s done exactly that in the past."

Jeff Sessions Insists He’s Not ‘Stonewalling’ By Not Answering Questions

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sessions-testimony-stonewalling_us_59404fcae4b0d318548592d2?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009
"Sessions repeatedly declined to talk about his past conversations with Trump and other top officials, even while claiming he wasn’t invoking executive privilege. Similar exchanges happened over and over again, as senators pressed Sessions on the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, an investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and the attorney general’s recusal from that investigation."

Kamala Harris Rattles Jeff Sessions

Sessions nailed for refusing to answer questions with absolutely no legal basis for doing so

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/6/13/1671520/-Sessions-nailed-for-refusing-to-answer-questions-with-absolutely-no-legal-basis-for-doing-so
"Jeff Sessions repeatedly refused Thursday to answer whether he spoke to Donald Trump about the Russia investigation as they weighed the dismissal of James Comey. Only problem—Sessions had no legal authority to decline to answer that question."

Republican National Committee defends Sessions by insulting everyone’s intelligence

https://thinkprogress.org/republicans-defend-sessions-ada6eaa19e70
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign after it emerged that he had misled senators during his confirmation hearing about at least two meetings he had with the Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the campaign. Sessions also failed to disclose the meetings on his security clearance application. The issue isn’t the meeting themselves — it’s Sessions’ deception. It’s also the fact that his subsequent explanations for lack of transparency don’t pass the smell test. For instance, Sessions claimed he didn’t disclose his meetings with Kislyak because he attended him in his capacity as senator, even though one of them occurred at the Republican National Convention — an event that Sessions traveled to and from using campaign funds. What’s more, a person who was at the RNC told the Wall Street Journal that Sessions and Kislyak discussed the Trump campaign."

Sessions Tangles With Sen. Wyden: 'I Am NOT Stonewalling!' | Crooks and Liars

Sessions Tangles With Sen. Wyden: 'I Am NOT Stonewalling!' | Crooks and Liars

"Throughout the questioning, Sessions has declined to answer questions, while also not claiming executive privilege. Instead he is claiming that he's protecting the president's right to invoke it, despite the fact that the Attorney General does not serve as counsel to the president and is supposed to be the lawyer for the American people."

Jeff Sessions Said "I Don't Remember" or "I Don't Recall" 26 Times During Senate Intel Testimony

60% of Americans Disapprove of Trump. What Are Republicans Waiting For?

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a55620/trump-60-percent-disapproval/
"The Republicans in the Senate are preparing to pass a destructive and vastly unpopular bill that will strip healthcare from 23 million Americans. They are preparing to do so almost entirely in secret; they even briefly changed the interview protocols within the U.S. Capitol on the fly to minimize their exposure to questions about how and why they're trying to slip this debacle into law. (After TV folks went wild, that policy was reversed.) In ordinary times, with a president's disapproval rating nudging two-thirds of the people polled, there at least would be a few members of the president's party pushing back against what plainly appears to be a rush to force a suicidal vote. But these are not ordinary times. And this is not an ordinary president*. And this is not an ordinary Republican party."

Everybody in Washington Knows the Disaster Is Coming

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a55563/trump-testify-under-oath-comey/
"Washington these days is stuck in a kind of Cassandra Syndrome. Everybody knows the disaster is coming but nobody knows how to stop it, and too many people don't want to because they figure they can get rich selling off the ruins. But everybody knows the disaster is coming. People talk about it matter-of-factly, the way they talk about rain when the dark clouds gather over the monuments by the river. They also talk about it in whispers while every institution of democratic government screams for help. The government of the United States is in the hands of feckless time-servers and coat-holders at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, and in the hands of an unpredictable and perilous clown show at the other. It is an altogether remarkable, if terrifying, place to be as summer comes on."

Senator Kamala Harris Persists Again During Jeff Sessions Testimony

‘Coal is dead’ and oil faces ‘peak demand,’ says world’s largest investment group

https://thinkprogress.org/coal-is-dead-692729aa910d
"BlackRock, the world’s largest investment group, with $5 trillion in assets — more than the world’s largest banks — has begun to bet on clean energy. Why? “The thing that has changed fundamentally the whole picture is that renewables have gotten so cheap,” said Barry. No, the world’s coal plants are not going to all down shut tomorrow, Barry noted to The Australian Financial Review (subscription required). “But anyone who’s looking to take beyond a 10-year view on coal is gambling very significantly.” President Donald Trump famously campaigned on restoring coal jobs, and has continued to reiterate that commitment as president, but the economic reality makes that a futile effort."

Trump’s allies point to his ignorance and inexperience as a defense

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-allies-point-his-ignorance-and-inexperience-defense
"Ignorance of the law, in other words, may work as a credible excuse for Trump’s sycophantic boosters, but there’s no reason anyone else should accept it. But even if someone were inclined to take the defense seriously, even if generous souls want to see Trump as an innocent, lost in the woods, completely unaware of the fact that obstructing justice is a presidential no-no, the story still falls apart given what we know about what transpired. Remember, former FBI Director James Comey has explained that when Trump pressured him about the investigation into Michael Flynn, he did so after clearing the room after an Oval Office meeting with a series of other officials. If the president was simply naïve, and had no idea his alleged actions were improper, why did he kick potential witnesses out of the room?"

Senator Elizabeth Warren Questions Bank CEO About His Support for Dodd-Frank Rollbacks

The RNC's Defense of Trump's Undeniable Corruption is a Master Class of Hypocrisy and Dishonesty

https://thedailybanter.com/2017/06/trump-is-the-most-honest-president-ever/
"This is what morally and intellectually bankrupt political party looks like and this is what it looks like when they're killing our democracy. Republicans spent 8 years relentlessly delegitimizing President Obama. They turned our political discourse into a fetid swamp of hate and rage. They poisoned the minds of millions of conservative voters with conspiracy theories laden with fear and racism. They stopped governing and instead obstructed everything in a bid to destroy the presidency of a man they despised on every conceivable level. They broke every tradition and norm that made our country function for the people. They stole a Supreme Court seat, stole the vote of millions of Americans and, in the end, stole the White House by turning a blind eye to a hostile foreign power attacking the integrity of our election. Donald Trump is the single most corrupt president to ever sully the presidency. He's making millions from abusing his power. He's openly sucking up to the countries that grease his palm. He's still refusing to release his taxes so we the people can't see who owns him. He literally asked the FBI to drop an investigation into his buddy before firing their director for refusing. By any and every definition, Trump is the exact opposite of "committed to complete transparency and compliance with the law"."

Trump Wants to Cut EPA’s Scientific Research in Half

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/06/trump-wants-to-cut-epas-scientific-research-in-half/
"President Donald Trump’s budget proposal would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific research programs by nearly half, according to a new report prepared by former EPA staffers. The newly formed Environmental Protection Network is a coalition made up of retired employees from Republican and Democratic administrations, many of whom have had decades of experience running the day-to-day work at the agency. And on Monday, this group of lawyers, scientists, and policy wonks released an analysis of the White House budget ahead of congressional testimony that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is set to deliver on Thursday. The hearing will be the first time that Pruitt will have to defend the dramatic cuts the administration has proposed for the agency."