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Thursday :: Oct 19, 2017

Shut Up General Kelly

by Deacon Blues

Please spare me any more heartfelt press events from enabler-in-chief General John F. Kelly, who as Trump's White House Chief of Staff today soiled himself and his old uniform by intentionally ignoring the family history between Congresswoman Wilson and Sergeant Johnson, while also intentionally dehumanizing her, and ignoring that there were two confirming witnesses to the call in the car.

Just like his boss, he had no trouble going after the black woman, and lying about Congresswoman Wilson while he was at it.

This sad spectacle tells us more about Kelly and his worldview than we may want to know. Having this man so close to this president is not a good thing, it only makes bad things easier.

There's a reason why Trump wants to keep his generals close: it's to wrap himself in their assumed credibility to gain cover for his (and their) agendas. And this is not a good thing for our democracy.

Deacon Blues @ 3:28 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::

Tuesday :: Oct 17, 2017

Trump Sandbags Ryan on ACA Compromise

by Deacon Blues

Whether he knew it or not, the moment Donald Trump acted last week to stop payment of cost sharing subsidies for working-class health plan enrollees in Obamacare marketplaces, he was throwing a grenade onto the desk of House Speaker Paul Ryan. Yes, yesterday the media was overly fixated on Trump's humiliation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the impromptu press availability and missed the obvious: absent was Paul Ryan from the "see, we're all friends after all" charade.

Over the weekend, Trump signaled to GOP Senator Lamar Alexander that he wanted him and ranking member Patty Murray to finish their work on a short-term compromise that would continue the subsidies for the next two years in exchange for providing states with flexibility for their own experiments to create local market solutions. And today, Murray and Alexander did just that: reach agreement on such a compromise that seemingly has Trump's support.

It needs to be mentioned that Murray didn't give anything away here: the Affordable Care Act already provides for what are known as Section 1332 waivers, whereby the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can review and approve state proposals for local market, non-national alternatives to the ACA. The roadblock of late hasn't been the law, but the lack of responsiveness by Trump's own CMS to recent applications since the new team took over. Democrats are wise to "trade" something already in the law for a 2-year extension of the subsidies, knowing one important thing: the House GOP will never go along with it.

Paul Ryan and the Freedom Caucus have already said they will not agree to any extension of the subsidies and instead want to blow up the ACA immediately through a full repeal and conversion of Medicaid to block grants now. Now, Trump meets with McConnell yesterday, wherein the Alexander/Murray effort was certainly a discussion topic, and a day later a deal is announced that Trump seemingly supports, with this additional "not now, Paul" from the president today:

"The solution will be about a year or two years. And it will get us over this intermediate hump," Mr. Trump said Tuesday during a news conference in the Rose Garden.
"It is a short-term solution," he said, adding that the long-term solution is to issue "block grants" to states to help people buy private insurance.

Trump just kneecapped House Republicans on their demands for an immediate detonation of Medicaid and the ACA, and he is now daring Ryan and the House GOP caucus to go against him and harm their own constituents in advance of the midterms. I wonder what Steve Bannon thinks of all this.

It is a given that Trump will need "Chuck and Nancy" to get this out of the Senate with several GOP senators along for the ride, and over to the House as the burning manure bag on Ryan's doorstep. Ryan also knows that Nancy might be able to round up over 185 votes for this, and would only need thirty more from Ryan's caucus to take this issue off the table for the midterms. But Ryan will have to make a choice now between bad outcomes: go against his president and prevent the compromise while harming red state Trump voters in the process, or going along with Nancy and losing his speakership.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. And let's give some props to the dealmakers here.

Update: Trump has already gone schizo on the deal, signaling his typical mental instability.

Deacon Blues @ 12:41 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Friday :: Oct 6, 2017

Trump Legalizes Discrimination

by Deacon Blues

I’m sure all the female Trump cultists, those suburban soccer moms and the Bernie women who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary are fully on board with Dear Leader’s move today to restrict access to birth control. After all, a serial sexual harasser and predator who has trashed multiple marriages can be trusted to tell women what they can do with their bodies, right?

The only two things Trump has actually done so far outside of getting the regrettable Neal Gorsuch a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is to make it easier for mentally unstable people to commit mass murder, and now to tell women they’re on their own in preventing pregnancies from guys like, well, Donald Trump.

I assume that Trump will also now ensure that men must pay for their own erectile dysfunction medications in all cases, right? Right?

Or is this all just a distraction from the bigger move today by Jeff Sessions to allow religious organizations and corporations claiming to be religious to now commit racial and other forms of discrimination? Can we now once and for all stop the tax exemption granted to religious organizations?

This is what you get when you allow Mike Pence and the Koch Brothers inside the Oval Office. I'd like to thank those 15-20% of Bernie voters in key states who voted for Trump.

Deacon Blues @ 9:40 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Thursday :: Oct 5, 2017

Trump's Rush to War

by Deacon Blues

If you want proof that the Trump administration, and specifically the president himself have no worldview except to undo Barack Obama’s legacy and divert attention from the Russia inquiry, I give you this. The Washington Post says Trump has already decided to decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, which would force Congress to deal with the matter as a pretext to unilateral American sanctions and the unravelling of the accord. However, the Post says:

Trump’s senior national security advisers agreed within the past several weeks to recommend that Trump “decertify” the agreement at the Oct. 15 deadline, two of those people said.

Yet both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times say that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson do not support decertification. So, I’d really like to know who are the “senior national security advisors” who told the president that they supported tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, thereby eliminating any constraints on Iran’s nuclear program short of a war.

And it goes without saying that the North Koreans have confirmation now that there is no diplomatic solution open with this administration.

Bombs away kids.

Deacon Blues @ 3:58 PM :: Link :: Comments (1) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
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