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  1. #21
    Of Course Republicans Will Keep Letting Trump Slide

    They'll line up and salute when the time comes.


    FEB 7, 2018

    The president* certainly has a gift for staying in character. You have to give the man that. I expect his re-elect to produce an ad with him standing in a white uniform on a balcony, tossing pennies to the peasants. But as easily mockable as this proposal for a grand parade and military review is, it shouldn’t blind us to the very real damage this administration* is doing elsewhere. For example, as if John Kelly's remarks on DACA beneficiaries weren't proof enough, the administration* has made it pretty clear what its attitude is toward poor people who are too lazy - or, as it turns out, sick - to get off their asses and do something.

    First, there is the concerted effort to turn Medicaid into a welfare program - first, by enacting work requirements for Medicaid recipients, and then to enact a lifetime limit on coverage. The folks at McClatchy have a good rundown of how these two things will work together to do to Medicaid what the 1996 welfare "reform" act did to Aid to Families With Dependent Children - essentially, to "welfare-ize" Medicaid as a prelude to changing the program utterly, or to eliminate it entirely.

    Capping health care benefits - like federal welfare benefits - would be a first for Medicaid, the joint state-and-federal health plan for low-income and disabled Americans. If approved, the dramatic policy change would recast government-subsidized health coverage as temporary assistance by placing a limit on the number of months adults have access to Medicaid benefits. The move would continue the Trump administration's push to inject conservative policies into the Medicaid program through the use of federal waivers, which allow states more flexibility to create policies designed to promote personal and financial responsibility among enrollees.

    First of all, who says that "enrollees" need their personal and financial responsibility "promoted"? The representatives of the most obviously self-indulgent wastrel ever to waddle through the White House? Please. And, as Ed Kilgore points out in New York, this plan will come with the added bonus of basically killing off the Medicaid expansion that came with the Affordable Care Act.

    Not to be outdone, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the nepotistic, if barely distinguishable, leadership of Dr. Ben Carson, apparently wants in on this red-hot work-requirement action, too. From The Intercept:

    This change would significantly impact those who rely on public housing and housing choice vouchers, often referred to as Section 8 in reference to Section 8 of the Housing Act. The news comes just weeks after the Trump administration announced that states could start imposing work requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility…if the draft's proposals are enacted, those families would have to pay the higher of two figures: Either 35 percent of their household's gross income, or 35 percent of what they earn from working 15 hours a week for four weeks at the federal minimum wage. A comment in the margins of the document notes that the latter would equal $152.25, something housing advocates say is effectively a new minimum rent floor.

    Additionally, the draft legislation would allow public housing authorities to impose work requirements of up to 32 hours a week "per adult in the household who is not elderly or a person with disabilities." According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than half of all recipients who lived in subsidized housing in 2015 were elderly or disabled, and more than a quarter of all households had a working adult.

    Suddenly, and again, the reasons why congressional Republicans are willing to let the president* run amuck in so many ways are very clear. While he's putting on his freak show that so entertains the rubes, and while everyone is amused by the contortions that the investigations of Russian ratfcking are putting him and his people through, in so many other ways, his administration* is modern conservative nirvana: dismantling the social safety net, knuckling the poor and infirm, destroying the administrative state, and making the lives of millions of voiceless people immeasurably worse while they still have the power to do so.

    Of course they're letting him slide. They're getting everything they've wanted since the enactment of the New Deal. He's a dream come true. They'll line up and salute. I guarantee that.

  2. #22
    Mueller Has the Goods Now, and Trump Knows It

    And any decision to fire Mueller or Rosenstein will (finally) have grave political consequences.


    FEB 17, 2018


    "A man's or a woman's?"

    Dr. Mortimer looked strangely at us for an instant, and his voice sank almost to a whisper as he answered: "Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”

    —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

    Closer and closer and closer, still. From The New York Times:

    The indictment represents the first charges by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for meddling in the 2016 presidential election - the fundamental crime that he was assigned to investigate. In a 37-page indictment filed in United States District Court, Mr. Mueller said that the 13 individuals have conspired since 2014 to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to The indictment charges that the foreigners falsely posed as American citizens, stole identities and otherwise engaged in fraud and deceit in an effort to influence the U.S. political process, including the 2016 presidential race. "The nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists," Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing Mr. Mueller's inquiry, said in a brief news conference on Friday afternoon at the Justice Department.

    Oh, they're smart fellers, they are. The indictments were rolled out perfectly. It is now absolutely impossible for the president* to fire either Rosenstein or Mueller without the worst possible political consequences. By basing the indictments on federal election law, Mueller has framed the case so as also to include anyone who accepted this criminal help.

    And the material in the indictment - which you can read for yourself here - outlines a thoroughly complete campaign of ratfcking aimed exclusively at electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States. This was Donald Segretti on steroids, with the power of a huge apparatus behind them. A few excerpts:

    On or about October 16, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the Instagram account "Woke Blacks" to post the following message: "[A] particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we'd surely be better off without voting AT ALL."

    b. On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased an advertisement to promote a post on the Instagram account "Blacktivist" that read in part: "Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it's not a wasted vote."

    c. By in or around early November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the "United Muslims of America" social media accounts to post anti-vote messages such as: "American Muslims [are] boycotting elections today, most of the American Muslim voters refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton because she wants to continue the war on Muslims in the middle east and voted yes for invading Iraq."

    They pushed the "voter fraud" fantasy as well. Kris Kobach must be so proud.

    b. On or about August 11, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators posted that allegations of voter fraud were being investigated in North Carolina on the Twitter account @TEN_GOP.

    c. On or about November 2, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the same account to post allegations of "#VoterFraud by counting tens of thousands of ineligible mail in Hillary votes being reported in Broward County, Florida."

    And, as we saw above, they did what they could to suppress the minority vote.

    46. In or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 US. presidential election or to vote for a third-party US. presidential candidate.

    It's important to remember that every one of the tactics mentioned above - especially the voter-fraud canard - have been electioneering tactics used by the former Republican Party for at least two decades. All these Russians are alleged to have done is to weaponized further what already was in place and direct it toward the benefit of the Trump campaign.

    The Trumpites (and now the president*, himself) already have mustered a response - namely, that there is no evidence presented here that directly proves any "collusion," which remains their magic conjuring word that makes all the monsters go away. That may get them through the night, but they have to know that Mueller has the goods now, and that none of us know what other goods Mueller may have.

    Donald J. Trump

    Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!

    I can recall a scene from the late Jimmy Breslin's Watergate book, How The Good Guys Finally Won, in which a lawyer working in the office of House Judiciary Council John Doar put together a series of index cards that created a timeline of Richard Nixon's first day in the White House after the Watergate break-in. From the cards, you could see how Nixon and his men were concocting a strategy to bury the story and insulate the president from how they were doing it. At this point, Nixon was still saying he didn't learn anything about the break-in until months later. Breslin talked about what the cards were saying.

    "Oh, come on."

    We are still supposed to believe that the Russians concocted this amazing scheme to influence the election and the person on whose behalf they were operating the scheme didn't know what they were doing?

    Nor did the people running his campaign?

    Oh, come on.

    Really, come the fck on.

    I really don't have anything more to say about what happened in Florida because, frankly, I've been doing this for almost seven years now and I’m goddamn sick and tired of arguing with people over the nuances of mass murder.

  3. #23

    Trump Tells Shooting Survivors: Solution to 'Your Problem' Is More Guns in School

    During a listening session Wednesday with student survivors and their families, the president proposed arming teachers and making it easier to institutionalize people.


    02.21.18 6:39 PM ET

    While meeting with survivors of last week's school shooting, President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed the idea of preventing school shootings by having more guns on campus.

    One week after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the president sat for a roundtable discussion with some survivors and their families, teachers, and parents of Sandy Hook and Columbine victims, and listened to their harrowing stories, impassioned pleas, and thoughts on how to prevent future massacres.

    When Trump spoke about proposed solutions, he suggested that arming teachers in their classrooms could act as a deterrent when a gunman enters a school.

    "If you had a teacher with, who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," the president said. "And the good thing about a suggestion like that, and we're going to be looking at it very strongly, I think a lot of people are going to be opposed to it, I think a lot of people are going to like it. But the good thing is you'll have a lot of people with that."

    CNN Politics

    Replying to @CNNPolitics
    Trump responds to the emotional stories of students and parents: "We don't want others to go through the kind of pain that you've gone through"

    CNN Politics

    Trump says he will be looking closely at the idea of arming teachers in schools

    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that there actually was an armed guard on the high school campus, but that the guard never encountered alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz.

    The president, appearing to reference how football coach Aaron Feis died shielding students, suggested: "If the coach had a firearm in his locker… he wouldn't have had to run, he would have shot [Cruz], and that would have been the end of it."

    He continued: "This would only obviously be for people who are very adept at handling a gun. It's called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone."

    The president also mentioned a hypothetical scenario in which there would be armed military veterans in every school protecting students.

    "You'd have a lot of people that would be armed, that would be ready," Trump said. "They're professionals, they may be Marines that left the Marines, that left the Army, left the Air Force... They'd be spread evenly throughout the school."

    If would-be school shooters knew that trained vets and armed teachers populated campuses, "they wouldn't go into the school to start off with," the president said.

    "I think it could very well solve your problem."

    He went on to say that "a lot of people don't understand that airline pilots, a lot of them, carry guns. I have to say that things have changed a lot."

    Trump then proceeded to poll the room of students and their families on whether they liked his idea.

    Later Wednesday, the Broward County superintendent, Robert Runcie, pushed back against Trump's suggestions, saying before a CNN town hall: "We don't need to put guns in the hands of teachers. You know what we need? We need to arm our teachers with more money in their pocket."

    The president also spoke about mental health issues, suggesting that it should be made easier to confine an individual who hasn't yet committed a crime. "Years ago, we had mental hospitals, institutions, we had a lot of them and a lot of them have closed. Some people thought it was a stigma," Trump said. "Today, if you catch somebody, they don't know what to do with him. He hasn't committed the crime, but he may very well and there’s no mental institution."

    He also assured his audience that he supports strong background checks for gun purchases, an idea that has gained some traction in the White House.

    "We're going to be very strong on background checks," Trump declared. "We'll be doing very strong background checks. Very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody. And we are going to do plenty of other things."

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