Archives 2017

2016 2013 2010 2007
2015 2012 2009 2006
2014 2011 2008 2005


Jan     Feb     Mar    Apr


Roger Ailes, founder of Fox News, has passed away at 77.

The evil that men do lives on after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.

William Shakespeare

Also, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone gives us a great recap of Ailes' career.


Very concerning that the boduguards of Turkish President Erdogan beat anti-Turkish protesters. Could have been worse as bodyguards were armed. No surprise that the President was silent on treatment of protesters.


There are essentially two ways to prevent abortions. One, the liberal way, is to make them unnecessary. You give early and accurate sex education, make contraceptives available and generously fund pregnancy health programs. The other way is to just punish and punish and punish, the hell with how it hurts women.


A survey recently showed that undocumented immigrants and Black Lives Matter are both really, really unpopular with far-right supporters of President Trump. David Clarke is a really extreme opponent of both. So it's understandable that this appointment shores up Trump's far-right base. But Clarke is an outright fascist.


Some of what the President said to FBI Director Comey: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”
Republicans are saying this plea was somehow a "joke." Uh ... ri-i-i-i-ght!


Turns out President Trump revealed that there was a spy within the high command of ISIS. The spy was Israeli. There's no reason to think that Russia is at all motivated to hand information over to ISIS. Still, this episode raises serious concerns about the President's fitness for office, whether he can handle the responsibilities of it.
Will Republicans break with Trump over this? Nah. If tax cuts for the wealthy and the process of taking health plans away from millions don't work out, then Republicans will abandon the President.
And the really major problem with the President being all chatty with classified data is not the domestic legal problem, it's the pragmatic problem of our allies not being able to trust us.
Oh, and it turns out that the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster wasn't aware of the importance of the information that was passed on and so didn't bref the press correctly on it for several days.


Hmm, so ISIS tells its followers "Hey, no need to go through all the hassle and bother of trying to sneak weapons through US Customs. Just get to the US and purchase guns once you're there!" They point to how weak US gun laws are.
What do conservatives think of that? Why, it's a liberal plot to strengthen gun laws! Becase, y'lnpw, ISIS and liberals are in close contact and all.


Yeah, so remember those halcyon days of yore, when in July of 2016, Speaker Ryan declared that because Hillary Clinton was said by FBI Director James Comey to have been careless with classified information, she couldn't be trusted as Commander in Chief? Yeah, good times.
Apparently Presiden Trump has shared information on ISIS that was super-duper top secret with Russia.


Chilling and disturbing. "House Republican writes letter to constituent's employer complaining about her progressive activism." The activist was a Senior Vice President of her firm, but resigned because of the complaint.


Senator John McCain makes an obviously stategic, "mavericky" move by referring to Senate Majorty Leader McConnell as a "stupid idiot" for using the "nuclear option" of overriding the filibuster of Supreme Court nominees Neil Gorsuch. Kind of a problem wth that is that Senator McCain was in favor of overriding the Democratic filibuster. Which means this speech was all political calculation and zero real outrage.  


Presidential spokesperson Kellyanne Conway is upset that the media doesn't give due time and attention to President Trump's positive accomplishments. Well, let's look at one of them. The AHCA/Trumpcare is about the only piece of major legislation that's been passed on his watch. GOP Representative Tom MacArthur found out, in a raucous five-hour town hall, just how his constituents felt about it.


A blogger has gotten into the habit of referring to the current officeholder as an "amateur president." That fits here as President Trump refers to "Palestine" instead of "Palestinian Territories." Obviously someone called and  yelled about that as the wording was soon changed.
Again, I think it's a great idea for Trump to try and bring peace to the Middle East. His attempt will obviously be a complete cluster****, but hey, sure, give it a whirl!


I think I understand the Senate Majority Leader's strategy here. He figures that as long as all of the critics are on one side and all of the defenders on the other, the public will see the dispute over the President's actions as nothing more than a partisan food fight. Problem is, it's a whole lot more than that. Comey is no hero to liberals, but we don't have to lionize Comey at the expense of the President or vice-versa. They can both be wrong!


The NY Time hired a global warming dismissive as a regular columnist. Their publisher argues that we should listen to all points of view, not just those we agree with. Well okay, but as I argue here, the columnist Bret Stephens does not argue in a direct and honest manner, he doesn't use facts and figures in a straightforward fashion. No, I think those who cancelled their subscriptions were right.


The "Deep State" makes its appearance as an anti-Trump/right wing bogeyman here and here.


The President's lawyers:
"The President's tax returns show that he has no extensive financial ties to Russia."
"Oh, okay. Can we see those returns so as to verify your claim?"
"What? Oh no. No, no, no. You'll just have to take our word for it."


The Comey-Trump conflict is much worse than Watergate. Big differences between Presidents Trump and Nixon, but the real problem is that the Republican Party is very different now from what it was like back then.


Wow! North Carolina had a disaster, they asked for $929 million, they're getting $6.1 million.


FBI Director Comey claims President Trump demanded loyalty from him during a private dinner. Just as with the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, no, it is not the job of certain government officials to just salute and to promptly carry out every order they're given. It is not the job of an FBI Director to demonstrate "loyalty."


If the President seriously believes "that 'it is not possible' for his staff to speak with 'perfect accuracy' to the American public," then perhaps he should admit that the job is just too tough for him and should resign.


President Trump says that FBI Director Comey asked to have dinner with him. Other sources agree that the dinner took place, but that the President was the one who requested it. Trump has himself suggested that the firing of Comey had to do with the Russia investigation.


"23 Reasons Trump’s Firing of James Comey Is a World-Historic Shit Show"
Yeah, item 11: 

This level of disorganization testifies either to the administration’s astounding incompetence or else to the urgency with which it needed to dispatch the FBI director. And it is hard to think of a benign explanation for why the White House would have felt such an urgency.


Okay, when liberals said Benghazi was exhaustively, completely and thoroughly covered at the end of 2013, that's because it was. There simply wasn't anything further to say about it, even though the numerous investigations continued up until the end of 2016. Comey's recent request for more money and personnel to look into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia was clearly in response to further connections being discovered. His investigation was clearly ready to ramp up. No, we're nowhere near finished looking into this.


This is pretty disturbing. We can tell what's on the President's Twitter feed and it consists pretty much entirely of people who think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. That means that when he does something like abruptly firing the guy who's investigating his campaign, he's completely blindsided by the reaction from people who weren't his fans to begin with. He had absolutely NO idea that people would find that objectionable.


Not at all surprised that Senate Majority Leader McConnell is opposed to an independent counsel investigation.
McConnell complains that Democrats thought Comey deliberately interfered in the 2016 election AND that Comey was fired for transparently dishonest reasons. Yeah, Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time. They can be outraged about both.


Good, solid arguments from a Bernie supporter turned reluctant Hillary supporter who explains that the difference between Clinton and Trump was real, but really could have and should have been bigger.


A reporter wanted to know if domestic violence counted as a pre-existing condition. Obviously HHS Secretary Price considered that to be an annoying question and the reporter was arrested and charged $5K for alledgedly getting into Price's face and violating security. Heyman graduated with a BA in Journalism and has over 30 years of experience in the field.


Heh! Interesting strategy to explain the AHCA/Trumpcare vote! I'm sure any Democrat reading this is like "Whuuh?!?!"

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Ca.), facing angry constituents at town hall, calls GOP health care bill “bipartisan..both parties working together"

Haven't seen any reports as to what, if any, role the fellow who was named as the Trump Administration's "strategist" played, but Steve Bannon, if he played any role at all, is doing an incredibly crappy job! The guy's "strategy" appears to be that of complete cluster****.
And yeah, no one believes that anyone in the Trump Administration gives a flying leap about how Comey treated Clinton. That's so obviously a convenient excuse it's just laughable.


Dena Takruri of Al Jazeera interviews Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT).


Huh! Well, whattya know? Comey is out as FBI Director. 

CNN reporter Dana Bash tells us "Source w knowledge of wh discussions tells me senior officials did not think firing james comey would be a big political explosion."

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): "We need a real, independent prosecutor who @realDonaldTrump can't fire, Sessions can't intimidate, & Congress can't muzzle. We need it now."


From MSNBC:

"Won’t millions of Americans lose their health insurance because of your plan?"
"No. We are working to give all Americans peace of mind about their health care."
The day after 217 House Republicans voted for their party’s health care plan, the website was changed – and these promises, which Republicans broke, were replaced with new text.

Erm, wasn't this a feature of what the government did in the novel "1984"? Wasn't that Winston's job? To delete information that was no longer consistent with reality?


FBI Director James Comey testified on his handling of Clinton's emails right before the election. ProPublica supplies much, much more convincing and credible explanations of Huma Abedin's email practices than Comey does.
Also, whether information should be classified is something that serious, patriotic and experienced people can honestly disagree on. The controlling factor here, under these particular circumstances, is whether or not it's marked classified. And believe me, such markings are very clear and unambiguous.


Did the President actually engage in witness tampering? Absolutely. I don't think there's any question of that. As to motivation, did he deliberately and consciously decide to engage in witness tampering, knowing that it was a felony? That part's not so clear. Does anyone on his staff dare to correct him and to inform him that he's breaking the law? Obviously not.


The once-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was able to testify on the matter of the trump campaign and Michael Flynn. In the process, she was able to defend her conduct from right after the first Muslim ban. She very clearly knew her role and it was not to simply salute and follow the President's orders. As acting AG, it was very much within her authority to ask questions and to insist the administration meet certain standards.


For the run-off vote in Georgia, the Republican is furious because the rule was that voters had to regster 90 days in advance. The Democrat just got a ruling that lowerded that period to 30 days.


Heh! How proud are GOP members of their AHCA/Trumpcare bill? "...only 14 of the 217 House Republicans who voted for the bill last week — less than 7 percent — are listed as holding town halls with their constituents."


Ivanka Trump's new book borrows quotes from all sorts of people, many of whom are pretty unhappy about their being quoted. Joy Reid of MSNBC gleefully mocks the book.


From TPM:

“More importantly we got two CBO scores,” Ryan told Stephanopoulos on Sunday, referring to the bill’s previous iterations (the version which passed the House has not yet been scored). “And the most recent CBO score showed that we’re perfectly in compliance with the Senate budget rules, which is what matters here.”

Erm, no. What matters is whether tens of millions of Americans lose their health insurance to a bill that was rushed through without hearings. Lack of a current CBO score for the latest verson of the bill means members were voting in the dark because they just didn't care.


This fellow who writes books on golf met Donald Trump three years ago and talks with Trump and Trump's son Eric

I said, 'What are you using to pay for these courses?' And [Donald Trump] just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million."

$100 million.

"So when I got in the cart with Eric," Dodson says, "as we were setting off, I said, 'Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks — because of the recession, the Great Recession — have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.' And this is what he said. He said, 'Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.'

Oh, and Trump Administration is still way behind on filling positions.


Good! Some bipartisan concern for the environment as a climate bill draws support from both sides of the aisle. D'oh! Just as Trump Administration refuses to re-appoint several scientists from the EPA, to be replace with industry representatives.


The President asks why news media is so slanted against the AHCA and also asks: "Why is it that the Fake News rarely reports Ocare is on its last legs?"
Well, maybe because, while it may need minor adjustments, it isn't on its last legs at all. Maybe because it would be doing fine without Republican sabotage and with proper support.


This is an extremely powerful testimony as to how wretched and awful and utterly indefensible the AHCA/Trumpcare bill is. Not one of 217 Representatives was willing to go onto Joy Reid's show to explain and defend the bill they just passed.


Hmm. Interesting piece on Jimmy Kimmel's recet speech on health care and his newborn son. If you're in favor of the ACA/Obamacare, you favor "bloated federal bureaucracy, socialized medicine, higher taxes and tons of more debt piled onto your grandchildren."
Funny, but the AHCA/Trumpcare doesn't deliver better, cheaper service. In fact, it delivers markedly inferior service and much higher prices.


Investigation of 2016 election continues. Hey, it took two years for Watergate to go from "third-rate burglary" to Nixon helicoptering out of the White House. These things take time!


Uh. Mah. Gawd! Yep, the Alex Jones site InfoWars now has a weekly press pass to the White House, full credentials pending! Video of Jones.


Does the AHCA bill cover those with pre-existing conditions? Well, yeah, but $8 billion is kind of a drop in the bucket that covers only 4% of the projected need.


VP Pence is filling the Trump White House with anti-choicers. Heartbreaking interview on the passage of the AHCA/Trumpcare bill: "I'm 46 years old. What about MY right to life?"


In non-news of the day. The ACLU decided not to sue over Trump Administration "religious freedom" executive order as it really doesn't do anything..


From the Rachel Maddow Blog

In 2009, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appeared on MSNBC and declared, in reference to a Democratic health care bill:
“I don’t think we should pass bills that we haven’t read, that we don’t know what they cost.”
Ryan is now rushing through his health care bill, despite the fact his own members haven’t read it, and despite the fact that they have no idea what the bill costs. (GOP leaders refuse to consider waiting for a report from the Congressional Budget Office.)


House votes and passes the AHCA/Trumpcare! Democrats denounce it and point out that there was no Presidential speech, no CBO score and no explanation as to why this bill doesn't resemble pre-election promises.


Five-Thirty-Eight does an analysis of the 2016 election. Yes, FBI Director Comey's last-minute interjection most likely cost Clinton the election.


This is ... wow! This. Is. Not. Normal! Woman is convicted of laughing at the Attorney General during a hearing!


House votes on a new AHCA/Trumpcare bill tomorrow. Funny, but I thought they were supposed to post bills three days in advance and they're only doing this with one day's notice.


House passes truly awful bill that permits employers to compensate employees who work overtime with time off as opposed to money. Of course, the unpaid leave time is to be taken at the employer's convenience. No Democrats voted fror this and six Republicas joined them.


From a tweet: "Trump is clearly frustrated that media aren't playing spending deal as a W-I-N." Erm, there's a reason media isn't portraying budget negotiation as a Presidential win. Trump didn't win on any of his priorities.

From the Arizona Capitol Times: "Arizona House Majority Leader John Allen (R) believes that Arizona’s teachers should lower their salary expectations." Amazingly enough, Arizona is suffering a teacher shortage! Gee, I wonder of this guy's attitude and that shortage could be connected somehow?


Hmm. The EPAs case against excess carbon in the atmosphere "is the product of serious legal, scientific, evidentiary, and procedural errors." Problem is, the group petitioning to stop considering excess carbon as a pollutant is a very, very long way away from proving that statement.


The President has an interesting solution for the Senate's failure to pass his proposals

The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good "shutdown" in September to fix mess!

Or, maybe perhaps, propose better, more popular soltions? BTW, Senate does not agree.


The President appears to be caught in a vicious cycle. When his agenda bogs down, he goes back to the campaign trail (or the golf course), which means he takes time and attention away from getting things done in Washington, which means he gets frustrated and takes to the campaign trail...


Good riddance! Conversion therapy for gays has been tried and has failed. It does more harm than good.


Before Trump's inaguration, a lot of people were frantically preserving government websites in anticipation of the governmet deleting important sites. Good thing, because the EPA just removed the climate science site.


Good point of comparison between Trump's and Obama's first 100 days is that while the ACA/Obamacare didn't get passed until March 2010, Obama was very successful in laying the groundwork for its passage by this time eight years ago. What has Trump laid the groundwork for? Erm, nothing really.


April                       back to top


So Fox News puts out a chart (Unemployment at the 100-day mark for Clinton 7.1%, Bush 4.4%, Obama 9.0%, Trump 4.4%). To which someone makes the very good response: "So Democratic presidents have inherited economic messes and have left the economy in much better shape for their GOP successors. Got it."


Heh! Suggestion is that defending President Trump's first 100 days is kind of like being a Pharaoh after the Book of Exodus. "The cattle haven’t all died. We’ve seen less fiery hail. And pestilence has been kept to an acceptable minimum."


Oops! After first denying it and claiming that Obama was responsible for clearing Mike Flynn (Obama fired Flynn), it seems the Trump Administration DID investgate and cleared Flynn! 


From the LA Times: "Babies and children listed in Homeland Security's immigrant database of alleged criminals."

Yeah, this raises the old question: "Stupid or Evil?" Does the Trump Administration do things because they're understaffed and/or incompetent or because they just don't give a crap?


Oh, good grief, what a horribly idiotic story! Ivanka Trump and Hillary Clinton have "uncanny similarities"?!?!?! Such as? Seriously?


Hmm, the President figures the Middle East, the relationship between Israel and Palestine should be a piece of cake to solve.


The following question and answer got a number of favorable headlines: "NBC News asked [Ivanka Trump] about admitting Syrian refugees to the United States, she said that it should be 'part of the discussion, but that’s not going to be enough in and of itself.'”
Maybe I'm just used to reading such statements cynically, but I'm surprised this answer got her good headlines as it strikes me more as deliberate obsfuscation than as a clear and honest answer. Trump could very easily have said straight out that she approved of letting in Syrian refugees and then that we needed to do still more. Not at all clear what making them "part of the discussion" means.


On the Russian TV station RT, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accuses President Trump of being a puppet of the Deep State.


Aww! The President tells us that he's unhappy with his job and finds it a lot of work.


From Rawstory

The Trump administration this week launched a new hotline called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) for people to learn more information about crimes that have been committed by undocumented immigrants. 

The piece goes on to document how liberals messed it up. Yee hah! This is truly a Nazi, Third-Reich style of program. Glad to hear it was disrupted.


Kudos to the Today crew for doing some good questioning! After the four-minute mark, Mnuchin mentions how a tax amnesty is going to create growth. Problem: The younger George Bush tried this exact same idea.
"But Rich, how come I've never heard of this?"
"Because it has absolutely zero effect. It did not result in any new investments."


Wow! The new AHCA/Trumpcare plan is so bad, Republican legislators wrote themselves out of it! "This plan is fine for the peasants, but we won't touch it!"


Hmm, this Ivanka/Donald Trump foundation requires very, very close and careful scrutiny. This, frankly, looks exactly like the Clinton Foundation in that it opens the way for conflicts of interest. The difference is that Clinton kept her State Department business separate from the Clinton Foundation. We have no reason to believe that this new Trump Foundation will be run in anything like the same way.


Yeah, the guy's microphone joke really wipes out any feminist credibility he gained during the rest of his talk. But I've always found it interesting that conservatives think that feminism means that women should support other women all the time, no matter how anti-female their policies are or if they make silly comments.


Greg Gutfeld, the *ahem* er "comedian" of The Five at Fox News, puts out some very dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric. And no, the analogy between abortion and slavery is deeply flawed as a baby is not grown in a vase or petri dish. There's another human being involved in the baby-making process.


Serious foot-dragging going on concerning the investigation of Russian influence? Considering that virtually nothings been done and only part-timers working on it, yeah.


To mark President Trump's 100 days in office, his people release a list of accomplishments. They have to engage in some serious list-padding here in order to puff up a record that's pretty bare in terms of accomplishments. Here's a fun tweet from December 2015:

“I don’t think he even tries anymore. I think he just signs executive actions,” Trump said of Obama. “That’s the way the system is supposed to work. And then all of a sudden, I hear he tried, he can’t do it, and then, boom, and then another one, boom.”

New Orleans removed the first of four Confederate monuments. Having learned from South Carolina's experience at flag removal, the remova was done at night and workers wore facemasks and bulletproof vests.


The pre-Industrial Age amount of carbon in the atmosphere in parts per million (ppm) was 280. The highest safe level is 350 ppm.
We've just gone above 410 ppm. It's been 3 million years since carbon has been that high.


After complaining that the "Muslim ban" executive order was stopped by "a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific," AG Sessions got lots and lots of pushback. To which he responded "nobody has a sense of humor anymore."


Blogger picks out two quotes from NY Times report that shows, yeah, FBI Director Comey was terrified that Hillary Clinton might win and that Republicans would then launch a whole series of investigations.


Trump Administration Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has a difficult time explaining why, when President Trump has over 550 positions to fill, he's only submitted less then 25 nominations.  


Heh! Most interesting! Executive orders are now a good thing! Funny, when was it? Yeah, here we go. Just a few months ago, in December 2016, President Obama was described by World Net Daily as "pen-happy" because he was putting out so many evil, awful, terrible executive orders. But now, Fox News' Jeanine Pirro says "28 executives orders to date.That’s more than any president in half a century." Now undeersand, she's not saying that as a condemnation. No, she's saying that as a compliment


Buried deep in this piece is a look at just how Representative Jason Chaffetz sees his job:
"Had Clinton won, Chaffetz would have used the platform to attack the administration at every turn... But now, he was suddenly limited by demands to play team ball ..."
So hey, Chaffetz would have done his job as head of the House Oversight Committee, but hey, y'know, uh...well...team players gotta play with the team, y'know?


Hmm. Well, the President's talked about items 1, 2 & 5. Done any of it? Ehh, not so much.


It's grimly hilarious that OMB Director Mick Mulvaney is trying to get Democrats to sign off on funding for the wall with Mexico. First off, President Trump can legitimately say that he has a mandate to build the wall as that was a prominent part of his winning campaign. but he also made it very clear that Mexico was going to pay for it. So Democrats are entirely justified in saying his mandate isn't applicable. Update: None of the border state governors are in favor of the wall.

Can Republicans get away with saying it's not their fault that the ACA/Obamacare collapses? Nope. Not with their party owning the House, Senate and Presidency.


Whoo-weee! With John F. Kennedy getting a 74% average approval rating for his first quarter and Bill Clinton getting a much lower 55% (Barack Obama got 63%), Donald Trump straggles badly with 41%!


March for Science. Includes lots of updates as it marks the 92nd day of the Trump Administration. 

Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempts to debate the meaning of the word "is" in relation to the "Lost Armada" (The President said a US Naval Task Force was 3,000 miles away from where it actually was).    
And yes, if you think this sounds like a familiar debate, President Clinton did indeed debate the meaning of the word "is" back in 1998.                  
Of course, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) picks now to commend Trump's people as "the best national security team I've seen since I've been in government."


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wants to establish new standards for Iran to meet in order to keep the nuclear agreement that President Obama reached with them. Problem is, Tillerson wants to simply impose this new standard unilaterally. This is a truly awful idea. Iran and the US had to negotiated long and hard before they were both reasonably satisfied. To unilaterally and arbitrarily throw in new requirements is to make keeping the agreement impossible.


New York reports: "The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end."
Great memories of Bill O'Reilly! Senator Al Franken looks back at an instance where Bill just completely made up a study to make a point.


CBS News says "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says tax reform unlikely to happen by August." 

Works for me!  As this was highly likely to be "Reverse Robin Hood" stuff (Take from the poor to give to the rich), I don't see this as bad news at all.

This is rather deeply concerning. This is kind of a problem with having a part-time Commander in Chief who spends more time on the golf course than just about anywhere else. President Trump announed that an "Armada" was saling twards the Sea of Japan. But instead of heading towards North Korea, the USS Carl Vinson and accompanying ships were actually heading towards Australia to take part in an exercise. South Korea has absolutely no faith in anything the President says now. A deep dive into how this ridiculous cluster**** occurred. 


Not unprecedented or illegitimate, ALL of the state US attrneys were forced to resign a month ago today. What's unusual is that not one has been replaced yet. The Trump Administration had already wated about two months. Not a all clear why they couldn't have waited until they had at least a few replacements lined up. 


Woo hoo! In terms of red to blue voters (Republican to Democrat), this seat is DEEP red and a Democratic (blue) candidate just got a plurality of votes for it!


From the piece's conclusion:

If only someone could have predicted that a policy of targeting people by religion followed by “extreme vetting” practices and random searches of domestic air travelers would make us a pariah in the international community. Who could have known it would be so complicated?

VP Pence wants to "abandon the failed policy of strategic patience." Erm, not sure what he means by "failed." Under Clinton, North Korea did not have nuclear weapons, under the younger George Bush, NK had nukes shortly after Bush made it clear that he held their "Dear Leader" in contempt. Under Obama, NK made a few noises, but modest concessions and displays of respect kept everything quiet.


White House visitor logs were kept completely secret until the Obama Administration. With a few exceptions for national security, family visits, etc., these logs were made open to the public. President Trump is going backwards in the area of transparency by making the logs secret again.
In the words of conservatives "If you didn't have anything to hide..."


So, did the First Family manage to pull off an Easter Egg Roll without excessive embarrassment? Yeah, they just sort of squeaked over the top. Nothing TOO embarrassing happened.


I've long been sentimentally in favor of the Kurds, even though I've always recognized that, their being submerged in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria meant an alliance was always implausible. I would take very seriously the warning from a Kuedish leader here that we should not overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


The Nation: "House Republicans Just Voted to Eliminate the Only Federal Agency That Makes Sure Voting Machines Can’t Be Hacked"

“It is my firm belief that the EAC has outlived its usefulness and purpose,” said Committee chair Gregg Harper (R-MS).

Em, seems to me that the Supreme Court felt the same way about sections of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and were proven very, very wrong.


Yeah, first off, it's really quite insulting to start off by calling Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) "Pocahontas," as it's an insult that's not grounded in any facts at all. Second, the Obama Administration made about as much progress against al Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS as could reasonably be expected of it. The current administration may desire to send in more than a few thousand troops, but I don't think Americans generally desire to go to war over there. It's one thing for elderly people to say "Send the troops," it's quite another for younger people to actually put on uniforms, pick up guns and go there.


Lefties spanked Fareed Zakaria for this yesterday, but it really is a widespread problem. Pundits showed far more enthusiasm for bombing then they should have. A more sober and rational and questioning punditry would serve America far better.


Yeah, it's kind of ludicrous for the NY Times to be running an ad at Daily Kos that reads "The truth matters now more than ever" while, at the same time, hiring Bret Stephens, who 

has repeatedly dismissed as "imaginary" the climate reality reported on every week by the Times’ own journalists.


Huh! Well, that's good. I guess. Apparently NK wanted to shoot a missile at our Naval Task Force that was steaming their way, but their attempt failed.


[Warning - autoplay. I just turned the sound off] Fascinating how the pictures of the black hole's event horizon was taken. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until early 2018 for it to fully come out.


Demos looks at a whole series of questions as to why Trump won and Clinton lost. Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders keep saying "If only Bernie had been the nominee instead of Hillary..." but this piece casts a lot of doubt on that.


National Enquirer makes no secret of being a pro-Trump rag. CEO David Pecker is a long-time friend of the President. Dick Morris, first a consultant for Bill Clinton, then a right-wing pundit with Fox News, is the Enquirer's Political Director. His predictions were noted for being wildly inaccurate. More from ThinkProgreee.


Here's the rundown on the fellow who has added "women's issues" to his portfolio:

The 31-year-old adviser and speechwriter honed his anti-immigration bonafides as the communications director for Alabama senator-turned-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He wrote both Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention, which was criticized as overly dark and apocalyptic, and his inauguration address, in which the President heralded the end of an era of “American carnage.” Miller was also behind the first failed effort to impose a travel ban on residents of seven majority-Muslim countries.

No question the sarin gas attack took place, but that's about all that can be proven. It's far from clear that the container was even dropped from a plane. Is there any proof that the Syrian government of Assad is responsible? The Trump Administration doesn't supply any such proof.
Update: NY Times says sarin gas was indeed deployed by Syria.
Further update: Consortium News says Times is wrong.


Yeah, I'm pretty baffled why we have an Attorney General who puts out nutty statements like this “I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use, but too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable.."
Erm, marijuana has never killed anybody. It's a drug that may have subtle medical effects, but after decades of studies, it's not clear why our AG is so excitable about it.
Are there other issues he could be working on? Well, yeah!


If, after four election cycles (2010-2016), Republicans now find themselves with only bad options on the ACA/Obamacare vs AHCA/Trumpcare, they really have no one to blame but themselves. They can't repeal the ACA as that will throw around 30 million people off of their plans, they can't replace it with the AHCA as that's a flea-bitten dog of a plan, they've gotten their voters all riled up for complete repeal and the insurance companies can't put up with delay.


California has put out a study of its charter schools. No question, the schools are a great deal for investors. For anyone else? Ehh, no.


Major problem with NY Times being "the answer to fake news" is that they've now hired a climate science denier. Kinda like the old problem of saying on their editorial page that invading Iraq was a bad idea while featuring Judith Miller's hysterical stuff on their front page. Further details.


TPM: "The United States may launch a preemptive strike using conventional weapons if North Korea moves toward a nuclear weapons test."
Sounds like a really, really bad idea! North Korea (And Iran, BTW) is a mountainous country, meaning it's easy to hide and protect nuclear weapons. It's very highly unlikely we could get them before North Korea gets off a few rockets to nearby countries.
Both Clinton and Obama preferred the flattery/bribery route. G.W. Bush tried the belligerence route and North Korea made big strides in their nuclear program during the Bush Administration.


No sign that there's actually life on Saturn's moon Enceladus, but all of the necessary building blocks are there.


Ivanka Trump has had meetings with Cecile Richards the head of Planned Parenthood, but her daddy's adinistration keeps making policies that are opposed to PP. Sounds like it's a complete waste of time for anybody to meet with ivanka. 


Interesting! It's long been obvious that big money was opposed to environmental regulations, but this piece makes the case that nationalism is also opposed to it. Nationalists prefer to believe that nothing is connected and that actions in Country A don't affect life in Country B. 


Well,the idea was to publicly shame "Sanctuary Cities" by publishing detailed reports on what they were doing. Oops! The government reports were so filled with errors that they essentially said "Erm, uh, never mind."


Is there solid evidence that Syria used Sarin gas on Syrian civilians? White House says yes, but that evidence is secret for now. Most interesting. If we have solid evidence, why not release it? 

Congressperson Tulsi Gabbard adds a further note of skepticism as to whether Assad deployed chemical weapons on Syrian civilians.


Daily Kos: "Classified docs show Susan Rice's actions were 'normal and appropriate'—Nunes and Trump lied."
This is what we call a "nothingburger," an event that's made out to be a big thing by people hysterically screaming about how important it all is and then, when other people calmly examine it, turns out to have been about not much at all.


Patheos: "Why Isn’t the Media Pointing Out That the San Bernardino Shooter Was an Outspoken Christian?"
Problem is, when an "outspken Chrisitan" commits an atrocity, that doesn't fir the "narrative" that the news source is trying to convey. But it's the job of reporters to tell us what happened. If the story fits into a narrative, fine. But if it doesn't, and it frequently doesn't, toss the narrative aside and just report the facts!


Nah, the fight in Syria isn't over oil. It's about old-fashioned spheres of influence. This is as basic and standard as it gets.


White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes the rather amazing claim that Hitler was better than Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because der Fuhrer didn't use chemical weapons. It is true that Hitler didn't use chemical wapons on the battlefield, but yes, he most certainly used chemical to kill people. A PR disaster ensued.


White House: "We're going to cancel Sesame Street."
Easter Egg Roll comes up. White House needs Sesame Street characters.
White House: "Oh, wait a sec..." 
Sesame Street contributed one character.


I believe there are two kinds of lefties. One kind says both the Republicans and Democrats are essentially alike and basically indistinguishable. The other says yes, they're a lot alike, but there are important distinctions between the two. This somewhat lengthy piece is a very good explanation of the second point of view.


Yeah, the hypocrisy goes all the way down. In 2013, only 22% of Republicans approved of the proposed bombing of Syria. Now, 86% approve of actual bombing. What's the meaningful policy difference between 2013 and today? Other than the fact we had a Democrat in the White House then and a Republican now?

Trump Administration people start to worry about the 100-day mark, by which time Presidents usually have significant accomplishments they can brag about.


A flight was overbooked, but the normal number of people didn't show up, but the airline needed to get four employees to another point. Peopl were offered incentives, but had to be compelled to give up their setas. One fellow was a doctor and absolutely had to be on that flight. The airline had him dragged off the flight. Social media was, quite properly, outraged
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel offers up a bit of explanaton but otherwise joins the bashing of United. CEO of United puts out a very poor explanation/apology.
Update: NY Times disgraced itself by permitting Ross Douthat to make a really stupid comment on the incident.


A while ago, Obama was asked why he didn't invade Syria. His answer is well worth being familiar with in light of trump's recent bombing there.


Oh great!!! This is the sort of sterling, marvelous, far-sighted leadership our country has now:

That’s why White House officials are taking out their frustration on House leaders, urging them to pass something—anything...

Yeah, great way to handle such a large and important sector of the economy!


Yeah, it's an interesting notion that cutting taxes is a sure-fire way to improve the economy, but the evidence since Reagan tried it is that making the rich richer by letting keep more money as opposed to paying it in taxes, it really doesn't do anything but make the rich richer.


Tch, tch, tch! Chinese President Xi Jinping visited President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, but as soon as the Chinese President was safely back home, Chinese state media criticized Trump.


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) talks a great game in sketching out a regime change plan for Syria. Problem is that Obama already tried it. Obama's military identified 60 "moderate rebels," by July 2015. The group was decimated very quickly in its first battle. .


It's a pity that CNN host Jake Tapper isn't able to really follow up and question his guests more closely or to correct flagrat falsehoods. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gaves a reasonable good response to a question about Syrian refugees, but she seriously misrepresented the vetting process, which is really quite thorough. It lasts well over a year. 


Fareed Zakaria says "Trump Became President" when he ordered Syrian airstrike. 

*Sigh* Look, when you're Richard the Lion-Hearted and go off to where the battle is yourself or you're John Paul Jones and you make a brave statement with cannonballs whizzing past your ears ("I have not yet begun to fight!"), that's one thing. That's brave and dashing and heroic. Sitting in the Oval Office and giving orders to people half a world away is the result of political calculation. Whether one approves of the action or not, the elder George Bush didn't demonstrate any macho courage by saying to get Manuel Noriega and Barack Obama didn't demonstrate any moral courage by launching drone strikes. They both made calculations and then issued orders from the safety of the White House.


Back during the early 2010's, Obama was constantly advised and admonished to try and make more personal contact with the opposition party. He was told to schmooze and hang out more. But the relationship between Ivanka Trump and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood demonstrate the very real limits of personal contact without political progress.


Rather disturbing to see people jumping to commend Trump for airstrike. But yes, there's a name for it. It's called the "rally 'round the flag" effect. 

In the past few months, we've seen a lot of comments about "fake news." Usually, the NY Times is identified as a reliable source of "real news." Bit of a problem with that is that the Times sometimes gets carried away and credits whatever the current presidential administration is with far more honesty than it deserves.


Uuh...what!?!? George W. Bush should be commended for anything having to do with Iraq? According to Business Insider, Iraq is number 11 of 25 failed states. Before the occupation of 2003-2011, Iraq had 24 hour a day electricity. In 2008, it still hadn't recovered to 2002 levels.


Heh! Comparison of Sean Hannity statements "then and now", from proposed 2013 strike and many others today. Trump's own statement from October 2013. And here are 10 Republicans who hated the proposed 2013 strike, but love Trump's strike. 


US blasts Syrian airstrip with cruise missiles. Not concerned about the welfare of ISIS, moderately concerned about the fate of Iranian troops, Very concerned about accidentally hitting any Russian troops! Sounds like the US took great care on that front, though. Is this a one-time thing? Sounds like it. Hope it is as I don't want to see us dragged into it.

Rather interesting that the President didn't get Congressional approval before the strike. Especially given that many Congresspeople wholeheartedly approved.


Ah well. Sad to see the filibuster deminished like this, but it wouls have been sadder to have seen Democrats cave. "Democrats filibuster Gorsuch, Mitch McConnell kills the Supreme Court filibuster for Donald Trump"  

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) takes an allegedly principled stand on the filibster for Suipreme Court nominees. But the time to take such a stand is before the principle is discarded, not afterwards, saying "We won't do that again." 


Very cool! Global mining industry is embracing renewable energy!


It's sinking in to people that the ACA repeal crusade cannot be revived. In fact, it would be far better for the GOP to allow ACA repeal to sink out of sight as taking away millions of health care plans would be a political disaster to the Republican Party.
The real sticking point here is that there's a faction that wants repeal and a faction that wants to improve the ACA. There is no common ground to build on.


The CFPB has done an enormous amount of good for consumers. For the big boyz of finance, not so much. As the piece concludes: "The CFPB isn’t being targeted because it has failed. It has been targeted because it is succeeding. It must be defended at all costs."


Piece makes a number of excellent points about why comedians are doing a better job of reporting on the Trump Administration than most news shows are.
I was especially struck by the section on the endless media debates on whether President Trump was wire-tapped. Comedians made very short work of this and moved on. The regular news shows debated this and debated it and debated it. Reminds me of the second complaint I make in this piece (Conan the Barbarian and his warrior-lover Belit) where an authors are clearly just trying to pad the story. 


Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wants to block-grant Medicaid and to then reduce the amount it gives to states every year so that states depend more on their own resources. Problem that's pointed out here is "How do we then handle epidemics/ pandemics such as Zika?"


You know what's sad about this talk by President Trump? I mean, I get it. I understand that getting elected President is a big deal. I totally get that, I understand that. But five months after a victory that was aided by FBI Director Comey's last-minute "discovery" of Hillary Clinton emails, a campaign in which the media focussed obsessively on the Clinton Foundation's possible conflicts of interest (and ignoring four years during which she demonstrated she could keep Foundation business separate from her job as SoS) while ignoring Trump's many, many serious potential conflicts of interest, a campaign where major media outlets gave Trump hundreds of hours of free advertising...
The sad part is that getting elected President remains Trump's biggest achievement to date.


US Pacific Command detects North Korean missile launch.


Trump donates a paycheck of his ($77K) to the Park Rangers. Pretty cool, but he's also cutting the Park Ranger budget by $1.5 billion. Park Ranger receiving paycheck is obviously less than thrilled.


Subordinates of the President have filled out financial disclosures. How useful and informative are they? As the old saying goes "the fish rots from the head." When the guy in charge doesn't disclose his taxes and retains control of his businesses, his people are going to do the same. So the disclosures are pretty worthless.


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gets the Supreme Court nomination fight backwards. The loss of comity and bipartisanship occurred about a year ago when Republican Senators unilaterally and arbitrarily decided they weren't going to permit Judge Merrick Garland even a hearing.
Graham: “We’re not going to have a rule, a tradition in the Senate where they get their judges and President Trump can’t get his.”
But Democrats didn't get their judge!!! We got robbed!!!


Strong possibility of being another Benghazi-style nothingburger, but National Security Adviser Susan Rice requested several names from national security reports.

Update: Yeah, just as we suspected.


"Hey, why don't we move [any program] out of the federal government and give it back to the states?" So goes the conservative mantra. Well, this is what happens when programs get moved to the states. Block grants get stolen and moved into other programs.


Good on Chris Wallace of Fox News (!) for pushing back on EPA head Scott Pruitts global warming denial.
A problem I have with Pruitt's logic of course is 1. carbon in the atmosphere contributes to global warming, And 2. we don't have to be putting carbon into the atmosphere, there are alternative forms of energy that don't emit carbon at all. So why are Pruitt/Trump settling for policies like "clean coal" when we don't have to be using coal in the first place?


From Crooks and Liars:

"Rep. Jordan: We'll Work With Democrats... If They'll Tank Obamacare." 

So, if Democrats cooperate to take down their own plan...uh, right. Yeah, that's never going to happen!
But this also highlights that President Trump can either work with Representative Jordan and his buddies in the Freedom Caucus or he can work with Democrats. Working with Democrats means going back on pretty much all of his policies so far.


From Raw Story:

“Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,” the president said. “That is all I am telling you.”

Now, to me, when a President says he's got a secret plan, that tells me that he's got a hazy notion that hasn't been examined or vetted or worked out in any detail. What it does not tell me is that he's got a sure-fire, can't-miss scheme.


Is FBI Director Comey doing good now? Sure.
Can he ever be forgiven for interfering the the 2016 election? Oh, HELL no!


Judge okays lawsuit against President concerning violence at campaign rallies. Fne by me! I thought at the time that Trump was putting himself very explicitly on the side of the people who were being violent towards protesters at his speeches.


Good to see the media recognizing that the ACA/Obamacare is not in any sort of trouble from "death spirals," etc.


So what has Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) been up to lately as head of the House Oversight Committee? Eh, basically sitting back and relaxing and snoring and just being about as useful as the "g" in lasagna.


March                        back to top


Okay, so House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) tells us that the FBI "incidentally collected information" on members of the Trump transition team. That means they were surveiling someone suspected to be a foreign agent and a member of Trump's team spoke to that person and the FBI caught that conversation on their surveillance.
I'm concerned that Nunes did not tell Democrats on the Intelligence Committee before he went scrambling off to tell the Whit House and a press conference. That's very highly irregular.

The ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee was less than pleased with the Chairman's actions.


The House is due to vote on the AHCA/Trumpcare tomorrow, well before the CBO has had a chance to score it. Why are Representatives in such a rush? That's easy, support for the bill is sinking like a rock. Speaker Ryan is trying to jam this through before even Republican voters learn too much about the bill.


This is a state-level win, not a national win. The State Assembly Speaker said: "No one should be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment."
Okay, but the court said that if unions are going to be required to provide services to workers for free, that amounts to taking resources from the unions without compensation. Good decision!


Is it "part of being President" to go scampering off to play golf every frikkin' weekend?!?!?! The hypocrisy here is absolutely staggering. This is a president who railed and complained and carried on about Obama's much more modest and restrained schedule and who is viciously and without restraint slicing away at government programs that serve the needs of regular citizens. The ACA/Obamacare being tossed out in favor of the AHCA/Trumpcare, a very inferior substitute, is just the latest and most egregious example.


Very interesting that neither Speaker Ryan, nor Majority Leader McConnell, nor President Trump are defending the AHCA on its alleged merits. They're all defending it on purely electoral/strategic grounds.


Gotta say, Senator Franken (D-WI) makes a pretty darned devastating case here that Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch is a deeply flawed candidate of the Judge Bork type. A man obsessed with philosophical details to the point where it clouds his vision of basic humanity.  


Texas wants to pass a bill that, essentialy, would permit doctors to lie to their patients if lying to them would prevent them from having an abortion.  This is a "fruit of a poisoned tree" policy. By definition, no policy based on lying and dishonesty can ever produce good results!


Republicans in Congress prove beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt that they are utterly incapable of conducting an impartial inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. We need an independent prosecutor!


Another good reason to have an independent prosecutor. Representative. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, does not appear to be familiar with major players in the Russian collusion scandal.


So, the very good news is that carbon emissions have been flat the last three years. The even better news is that economic growth is up by 3.1%. What does that means? It means no, we don't have to sacrifice economic growth in order to prevent climate change from choking us all.


From TPM "Trump Now Says U.S. Military 'Should Never Ever Have Left' Iraq"

Which is kind of an interesting statement, considering that neither Iraqi nor American citizens wanted the US to stay in Iraq by the time Obama came into office. The right-wing Cato Institute wrote this piece in 2007. Granted, this was prior to The Surge, but it makes a lot of good points. The Surge has grown mightier in post-war mythology, but as the right-wing Washington Times points out here, The Surge was irrelevant to really getting a real and lasting victory in either Iraq or Afghanistan.  


Trump appoints a group of people to offices. In terms of their functions, they sound precisely like Soviet "political officers" or "commissars."  Their job is not to do the job, their job is to keep an eye on those who are doing the job and to make sure they stay within ideological boundaries. 


Success for the new immigration policy [/snark]!!! Almost 100 Africans who had all paid $500 to attend a conference in the US on African trade policy and had arranged travel several months in advance were ALL denied visas!


So the President is now at a 37% approval rating after not having gotten any better than 45% so far in his term. There are presidents who have dipped below 40% for short periods, but only four from Truman to the younger George Bush that were substantially below 40% for significant periods of time (Truman, Nixon, Carter and G.W. Bush).


How does Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price reconcile the two positions, that President Trump will provduce a plan that provides "insurance for everybody" with the fact that the CBO estimates the current "Trumpcare" bill will deny coverage to 24 million people? Price tells us that the plan consists of three "buckets" and that the really good plan will be here in the third bucket. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) "scoffed at that plan...'That ain't gonna happen.'"


Very interesting bit of good news. The private gun industry is doing very poorly under Trump. Paranoia was a big reason for people to stock up on guns under the Obama Administration.


A Fox News analyst made a baseless claim that British intelligence agency GCHQ spied on Trump for former President Barack Obama. The President said it wasn't his fault that he and his people repeated the claim.
Here's the problem with that. The Captain of a ship can take advice from a Seaman because good ideas can come from anywhere. But the Captain should have the ability to filter out and reject bad ideas. The President's people should have said "Interesting claim made by Fox News. Let's research that claim and determine whether it's true or not."


AG Sessions: "I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable."
Considering that a whopping grand total of zero people have died from overdosing on marijuana, no, your opposition is not merely unfashionable.


Art Laffer has never, to my knowledge, been part of the "Reality-Based Community" and he demonstrates that he's still not in that camp. He thinks the collapse of Kansas' budget was not because of ruinous tax cuts, but because the cuts weren't big enough. In reality, the failure of Kansas was that tax cuts are a non-solution.


Right-wing local columnist, with whom I'm rarely on the same page, gets it right. Muslim ban 2.0 was about the same subject the first ban was, religion and not security. It was about sweeping generalizations, not specific facts.


Okay, seen a couple of pieces over the last few months where people try to delineate the US media universe and where all of the media outlets fit into it. This is a much better study than any of them and matches my view of what our media universe is like.


Amazing that any human being can demonstrate such utter heartlessness.
"On after-school programs, [White House budget chief Mick] Mulvaney said services intended to help feed hungry students in order to improve their academic performance deserve to be cut because proof of that progress has not materialized."
Erm, exactly how does one do a cost-benefit analysis of feeding hungry children?!?!?!?! And who's likely to volunteer to be in the control group thaat doesn't get fed? 
A blogger's comment: "WHO thinks like this? And then who says this. Out loud. In public. As part of an actual planned argument?"


Someone (likely Trump himself) got Trump's 2005 tax return to Rachel Maddow. Maddow goes over the reasons that 2005 may have been a highly unusual year for Trump's taxes.


President Trump proposes ending "Meals on Wheels" for seniors.
Saves a ridiculously small amount of money? Check!
Needlessly cruel? Check!
Is Trump an outlier? Is he expressing an unusual philosophy? No, not at all. A policy decision like this is precisely what "small-government conservatives" think is good policy.


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked about cooperating with Republicans on AHCA. She has a carefully nuanced response that's well worth reading in full.


Interesting. Israel is accused of the "crime of apartheid." Had no idea there was such a thing. 


Travel ban 2.0 blocked by court right in the nick of time. Ban has same legal problems as version 1.0 did. It discriminates against arrivals based not on actions, but on country of origin. 


Heh! So we've got President Trump partisans blaming Speaker Ryan for the AHCA/Trumpcare PR disaster, then we have Ryan hit back by saying Trump's people helped to write the AHCA!


A really aggressive crackdown on unauthorized immigrants has the entirely predictable result of discouraging women from going to hospitals to give birth


Tweet from Fox News. Very, very interesting! T-shirts with slogans like “Journalism Matters,” “Speaking truth to power since 1847” and “Democracy dies in darkness” are “anti-Trump rhetoric” and “media bias on display.” ZOMG!


Baker with strong Christian beliefs refuses to bake cake for gay couple. Pays $135K. Do I have any sympathy for them? Nah. Proper customer service means you don't go getting all fussy and particular about the moral qualifications of you customers. The shop owners should have simply made the cake, said a series of "Hail Marys" or whatever form of religious penance was needed and then, to avoid further trouble, should have folded up shop.


Can we please now toss out the notion that Speaker Paul Ryan is some sort of policy wonk?
This rolling back of the ACA/Obamacare was his supreme "put up or shut up" moment and he failed that, spectacularly!


Back during the early 1800s, "states rights" was used as a proxy for being pro-slavery. Representative Joe Barton has updated it only in the sense that "states rights" are now being used against women.


White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney wildly misstates the process used to pass the ACA/Obamacare. His claim that no one was able to read the bill is false. A few months before It was passed, I read a conservative blog post where a conservative went through all of the things he objected to in the ACA bill, citing each page that contained what he objected to. This put the lie to all of the Republicans who were running around with great piles of paper, "dramatizing" how huge and unreadable the bill was. Of course people could read it and many did.


Title of piece is NSFW, but seriously, the former NC Governor who championed the "bathroom bill" is upset because people now think he's a bigot!


CBO report on the effects of passing the TrumpCare bill. Massive numbers of people would lose coverage. 
Extra: Speaker Ryan "shines that turd,"


Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price doesn't appear to be describing any proposal that actually exists in reality when he describes the proposed replacement for the ACA/Obamacare. Price describes a system that sounds really good, but that doesn't appear to resemble the AHCA that the Congress has proposed


First question: Does the president have the right to dismiss some or all of the State Attorney Generals (SAGs) upon entering office? Yes.
Does he have the right to do so for any reason after that first wave? No, that's what tripped up Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. AGAG, with G.W. Bush's obvious approval, fired people for blatantly political reasons. Once you get your first overall replacements, you're supposed to leave SAGs in place unless there is clear misconduct on their part.
It's okay for President Trump and AG Sessions to do a mass replacement at this time (though as this piece points out, it's being done in a massively incompetent manner), but any replacements done for any reasons of "disloyalty" or "not being with the program" are contrary to the intention of having SAGs.


For US troops to help in fighting Daesh/ISIS in Iraq has never been a big problem to me. For them to fight in Syria has always been more of a concern as Russia has a very serious investment in keeping Bashar Assad in power. I support the Kurds and the US military is putting its weight behind them, so that's good. But Turkey doesn't like the Kurds, so the US may end up dumping them and betraying them anyway.Yeah, I'd say if Assad is now calling for US troops to stay out of Syria, we'd be better off reducing our involvement.


Very interesting that Representative King thinks six months is a reasonable time to examine a bill before passing it, a position that's in no way consistent with what the Congress is trying to do now. Couple of other interesting statements reveal that King neither knows or cares much about the impact repeal of the ACA will have on his constituents.


Before President Trump was inaugurated, the job numbers were fake. even thogh they're now very similar (Feb16 - 242k jobs, Feb 17 - 235k jobs) and now theyve become real. This is a perfect example of what's called "gaslighting." We're supposed to believe that nothing is true unless we're told it's true. The evidence of our own eyes and ears means nothing. We should be completely dependent on what we're told.


I like Professor Krugman's idea here! Instead of referring to the Republican health care replacement bill as Obamacare 2.0, it's a lot more accurate to refer to it as Obamacare 0.5.
It's a replacement that accepts many of the premises of the ACA/Obamacare, but it's a really cheap and shoddy imitation.


Heh! In February 2016, we added 242,000 jobs. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said it was "disappointing to see so little growth."
In February 2017, we added 235,000 jobs. What does Brady have to say now? "our economy is moving in the right direction."


400 more troops go to Syria. Erm, extremely important question: What exactly is their mission?


CBO has not weighed in yet on TrumpCare (Yep, President is now all-in on backing it), but Brookings Institute has and they figure that only a quarter of the people who got insurance under Obama would keep it and premiums would rise by 20%.


So is there an upside to the report on CIA hacking? Yes. Regular citizens can protect their communications and the report tells us how. 
Is the whole CIA hacking report designed to make us think that the Russians are being framed? That the Russians didn't actually hack the DNC's email servers?  Yeah, looks like it.


GOPCare is massively unpopular. Why is that? Well, "Liberal censors" had nothing to do with it. Problem is that conservatives didn't run on the idea that health care isn't the job of the federal government because the idea of leaving it all up to free enterprise is a massively unpopular one! But while they can't say that, they actually believe that, so they're stuck. 


Very encouraging to see that, while Speaker Ryan is in a great, tearing hurry to ram the Republican ACA replacement bill through as quickly as possible, some Senators who actually, y'know, listen to their constituents, are saying to slow down and hold off.


So the other part of the Russian hacking equation is: "Does Putin have a grudge against Hillary Clinton?" Turns out, and the Russian dossier that surfaced a few months ago confirms this, yes he does!


The essential problem with the official Trump Administration response to violence committed by white nationalists, the KKK and Neo-Nazis, is that there appear to be broad areas of agreement between the administration and these groups.


Kellyanne Conway doesn't seem to be really clear on whether she wants the Republican health care plan to be called "TrumpCare." I kind of agree with her on that. According to everything I've been reading, the plan is a complete cluster**** and nobody wants their name associated with it. I think the President would be smart to disavow the plan completely. Second, the GOP has been working on this since 2010, so it's easy to say "Hey, I came in late, they screwed it up without me."

Another reason to throw the House bill under the bus is that the bill:

...doesn’t cover “everybody,” doesn’t lower deductibles, doesn’t ensure that all Americans are “beautifully covered,” and doesn’t guarantee that “everybody” is “taken care of.

It would be a very good idea for Trump to distance himself from this bill.


It's pretty amazing that the Republican ACA repeal bill manages to alienate all sides of the debate.
The only meaningful measure of success for the GOPCare bill is how many people are insured. Under all of the Republican versions, millions of people will lose their coverage.


Someone argues against "white guilt" because only 1.6% of Southerners owned slaves when slavery was at its peak.
But I've seen the 1.6% claim before and am really unclear as to how this absolves the South. Southern society as a whole very much depended on slavery and very much profited from it.
Is removing Confederate monuments going to reduce black hate and discontent? Yes, obviously. If society is not openly advertising their hatred and contempt for their African-American citizens, those citizens will be less inclined to be "thugs."


The economist Paul Krugman is less than impressed with the Republican health care plan. He'll have more details tomorrow, but posts a preliminary assessment


Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) concedes that the Republican health care plan may be completely inadequate and might leave millions of people out in the cold, but hey, poor people spend money on iPhones, so they could get better coverage if they just had better priorities!
Also, the GOP health care plan apparently gets rid of the individual mandate. that makes, it far from clear how the finances would work to deliver adequate coverage. Everything in the ACA is dependent on everything else. Can't just take out bits and pieces and expect it all to keep standing.


The ACLU does a thorough debunking of the idea that the Trump Administration parental leave plan is even mildly adequate.


Protest against desecration of Jewish cemetaries - 41st day of the Trump Presidency.


"House Republicans have unveiled their long-awaited ObamaCare repeal bill." 
Sounds like the really essential difference is that subsisides get cancelled, making coverage under the ACA less affordable.


And now for some comic relief, we have HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson! Y'see, some slaves, according to Carson, had dreams and ambitions and bright visions of the future! This was while, of course, they were being taken without ther consent, to America.
Movie star Samuel Jackson had some NSFW commentary on that. 
Update: Carson doubles down and refers to slaves as "involuntarty immigrants."


Very interesting! President Trump appears to be comparing his first 100 days with Obama's and finds his own coming up short.

I blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy of the last eight years for that. His heels-dug-in, scorched-earth strategy was very effective for getting the GOP into positions of power, but is a very poor strategy for actually governing anything. They're having a hard time switching over.


The blog Crooks & Liars complained before about being lumped in with unreliable, irresponsible websites that were just looking for clicks and bucks. They call attention today to "identity theft," sites that name themselves deceptively close to what legitimate sites call themselves.


So the idea is that Ivanka Trump is actually a closet liberal, who secretly influences her father behind the scenes. 

..rumors began circulating that the White House was preparing an executive order that would overturn Obama-era protections of LGBTQ workers...

Pretty cool, right? Ivanka is acting behind the scenes to protect LGBTQ workers. But...

...almost a month after pledging to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, the White House rolled back federal protections for transgender students. This time, there was no word from Ivanka — not even through anonymous sources.

So yeah, Ivanka's on the side of people who need protection, until of course, they actually need protection! Then she goes silent.


Disney puts out a cartoon story (Star vs The Forces of Evil) where, after a part of the singing takes place, we pan over a group of couples kissing each other in relief. One of those couples is, horros!, two men!
Franklin Graham denouces it, speaking for a subset of Christians that's getting smaller all the time. Heh! I once was getting back to a pro-gay demonstration and passed a fellow with a really lengthy and densely-worded sign and found myself wondering "Is this guy pro-love and happiness or is he opposed to that?"
Anyway, bravo for Disney!


Most of the President's Cabinet is in place by now, but yes, the whole idea of liberals and Democrats is to gum up the works and to slow down the President's agenda. Why is that? Because the results of conservative policies that the US has been conducting since Reagan was in office (1981) have been crystal clear for quite some time. Helping the wealthy by taxing them at lower rates makes wealthy people happy, but that's all that it ever accomplishes. It never leads to anything worthwhile. "Trickle-down economics" never accomplishes anything for the non-wealthy.


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has called it a “good and growing example of what can happen when you have a robust array of [school] choices.” Okay, so let's look at her idea of what constitutes a good educational choice. 

The voucher program offers different voucher amounts depending on what a student’s disability is; a child is assigned a funding level, known as a “matrix of services.” This website tells parents to go to a link to find their “child’s matrix number” for a 504 funding plan. This abstruse website is a good example of why some education experts say that vouchers work better for parents who have the time and resources to investigate how these programs work, and who can ferret out which school best serves their child’s needs.


Thinkpiece: what exactly constitutes a "good" political speech?


Just in case anyone wants a handy-dandy reference sheet, the LA Times is keeping a detailed, day-by-day run-down of everything that's happening for President Trump's first 100 days.


More immigration horror stories. This man is not a US citizen, but owns property in NYC and was denied food or contact with anyone for 14 hours, then hustled onto a flight back to Brazil!


Companies relieved of the requirement to report methane pollution. There are other greenhouse gases, but carbon and methane are the two big ones. 


There were no big policy changes and plenty of falsehoods and exaggerations in the President's speech to Congress, but some pundits were very taken by the fact that he "used his indoor voice" and stayed on-message.


There are two types of online education, public and private. Public online education is cheap, so all the student loses is time during which they could have been learning something useful. But private online education is expensive and neither the sudent nor the taxpayers makes the investment back. In neither case does the online education student really profit from the experience and employers are equally dissatisfied.


A mere 2.5 hours away from Standing Rock, where Native American Water Protectors were blocking the Dakota Access pipeline, a pipeline leaked 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a creek.


After the new AG Jeff Sessions admited that he met twice with the Russians during the 2016 campaign, a blogger put out this on Twitter: "PRO TIP: Next time Coretta Scott King tells you not to trust someone, believe her."

Also: here's a clip of Sessions yelling at President Bill Clinton for perjury back in 1999.


Verbalizing our outrage matters. Citizens of Arizona were infuriated that their state wanted to make protest illegal and said so, loudly! And the Arizona legislature backed down


Yes, Chris Cillizza is correct in that tone and delivery should be noted when politicians give speeches, but the whole point of having highly paid and educated reporters is to go below the surface and to tell citizens whether what the speaker says is true or whether the speech leaves out important details. Anybody can be a theater critic of political speeches.


Hmm, so let's see. On the one hand:

The contentious rule had been fought for years by farmers, ranchers, real estate developers and others, who complained it invited heavy-handed bureaucrats to burden their businesses with onerous restrictions and fines for minor violations.

But

Both the climate and the clean water rules were enacted only after a long and tedious process of public hearings, scientific analysis and bureaucratic review.

Yeah, I'm kind of inclined to with the clean-water folks on this. 


February                        back to top


Argggh! The stupidity! It hurts!!! *Sigh* No, Historically Black Colleges and Universities did not arise because of free enterprise competition. They arose because white colleges did not permit black students to attend them. It was not a matter of "School Choice" in a capitalist, free-enterprise, competition sort of way. Our Education Secretary doesn't appear to grasp that.


And oh yeah, remember that first foreign policy initiative of the Trump Administration, the raid in Yemen? Turned out it provided no significant intelligence.


I completely understand the President wanting to save a few relative nickels and dimes on a climate change envoy as, y'know, having such an envoy would prioritize the survival of the human race above short-term business interests. But not wanting an anti-Semitism envoy? After Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized? As a Democrat, I rejoice that he's so tone-deaf, but I'm distressed as an American citizen that our President just doesn't appear to really care.


As one of his first acts as Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III reveres DOJ support for a Voter-ID case. His reasoning? No one knows. "'We can’t make heads or tails of any factual reason for the change. There has been no new evidence that’s come to light,' Lang told the AP."


Education Secretary DeVos questions why schools should provide free lunches. Naturally. She's been wealthy all her life. She hasn't the vaguest clue of what it's like to be food-insecure.


A Twitter post:

Trump on health reform: "Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated."

Good to see that our president is now aware of ... well...a blatantly obvious fact that many others have been aware of for many years. But hey! Good to see this.


Rabbi from Philadelphia speaks out on toppled Jewish gravestones.


President Trump brags about the economy on his watch. The first part of his claim ($12 bn reduction in debt) may be true. The second part (Obama had $200 bn added to debt) is definitely true, But recall that Obama took office in the middle of the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Is the media "ignoring" Trump's "great achievement?" I seriously doubt any of Trump's policies could possibly have had any serious economic impact this early in his term.  


Heh! Amazingly enough, people like clean air and water! The Congressperson has clearly never heard of the concept "race to the bottom." Obviously, if you hand off all enforcement powers to the states, states will then compete with each other to offer laxer and looser enforcement.


The cost of mass deportations shouldn't be calculated in just what it costs to round up and deport people. We should also take into account the taxes that those people are currently paying and would no longer be contributing to the Treasury. In Florida, that's $753 million, nationally that's $11.6 billion.


Muhammad Ali's son detained for two hours.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly contended that his executive order banning refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries is 'not a Muslim ban'

Well okay. But Muhammad Ali Jr. was a American citizen, had no criminal record and was arriving from Jamaica, so what then was the reason that he was detained?!?!?!


An Australian children's book author, Mem Fox,  was detained by US immigration authorties. She'll most likely never return to the US.


While I was in the Navy, I knew several sailors who were serving with me and didn't yet have their US citizenship. Because the President is acting in a highly un-American way and taking sudden, arbitrary actions without going through any sort of consultative or legislative process, this dropping of the ball, dropping of protections for the families of military members who are not yet citizens, is an entirely predictable result.


It takes more time and money and people to figure out which undocumented immigrants go back to which country. Mexico is told that it will take in all undocumented immigrants whether they're from Mexico or not. Mexico's response: "Oh, HELL no!!!"


From the piece

The [Kansas] governor [Brownback] has fiercely defended the tax cuts, arguing that they stimulated job creation while it was the decline in oil and agriculture prices—the 'rural recession,' as he calls it—that caused the budget shortfall. '[the tax cuts] worked!' Brownback told my colleague...

Governor Brownback has continued to claim that his 2011 and 2012 tax cuts boosted job creation and new business formation. But as Kansas.com
points out, the economic performance of Kansas has been poor and, very importantly, poor in relation to that of other states both in the immediate region and nationally.
The really ridiculous part of the story? Republicans want to bring Brownback's tax cutting strategy to the nation as a whole!


Lots of loud, agry protests at the thought of repealing the ACA/Obamacare. Good! Sounds as though the protests are having the salutary effect of weakening the determination of Republicans to repeal the ACA/Obamacare. As long as the GOP doesn't have a replacement, repeal would be an awful idea.


Currently, Russia has 7000 nuclear weapons in their "triad" (land-based, submarine based and aerial bombs) and the US has 6800. By 5 February 2018, we're both supposed to have just 800. I feel we could easily go lower, but yeah, good start. The last time I looked seriously at nuclear weapons was when I did a paper on Star Wars/NMD/Missile Defense, but I really can't see a problem with the START Treaty idea. President Trump says he wants the US to be the "top of the pack." Why? What would it accomplish? Why we'd rather spend another $1 trillion over 30 years is not at all clear.


Representative Louie Gohmert hugely exaggerates the dangers of holding a town hall meeting. He's perfectly free to set up a meeting where citizens have to be cleared through metal detectors. I've been to many such political rallies. No one minds doing it. It's also important to remember that Rep. Gabby Giffords was out in the open when she was shot. She was not in any sort of protected space.
Update: Former Rep. Gabby Giffords has absolutely no respect for Gohmert's cowardice.


Trump says words to the effect of: "Whuuh? Democracy? Will of the people? Ha, ha, ha! What are these things you speak of? No, no, if people are showing up at town halls who are not in complete agreement with us, it must be a conspiracy of some sort!"


Very sad to see the Water Protectors having to abandon their campsite, but it was pretty clear that the alternative was a massacre or at the least, severe brutality.


The Trappist-1 system is a mere 39 light-years away and that has seven planets within the habitable zone where water can exist as a liquid. If there's anywhere that's likely to host life, that system is an A1 candidate. 


Awww! The poor, tender, delicate little snowflake! Angry people chanting "Do your job!" makes Representative Chaffetz feel convinced that the citizens were all just paid protesters. Yeah, that's it, they were all just being paid by special interests!


Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce appears to believe that because FLOTUS Melania Trump and First Daughter Ivanka Trump are women, they automatically should be embraced and not "dismissed and disparaged because they won't conform" to what feminists would prefer their agenda to be. Of course, feminists did not consider Sarah Palin to be worth defending, either.  .


So the Trump Administration wants to re-word their Muslim ban so that it passes judicial scrutiny. Andrew Napalitano says they're trying to make it clear that it's a "security ban" as opposed to being a Muslim ban. But it's' not just a problem of wording. It violates American law and values to discriminate against people just because they're from certain countries. Besides which, the seven identified countries have never been a source of terrorists attacking the US.


President Trump claims that he's been very energetic in denouncing anti-Semitism. Actually, he's been very slow to react to the surge of anti-Semitic incidents and threats that started after he was sworn in.


And an important reminder: the problem isn't just the President. It's his whole party.


Yeah, Representative Steve Womack is upset that liberal voters want to "investigate everybody" in the Trump Administration. Says a guy from the party that investigated Benghazi NINE frickin' times!!!


The Water Protectors of North Dakota who are standing in the way of the Dakota Access pipeline have been given until today to move out of the way. Check this site to get their side of what happens.


Generally, I don't begrudge presidents their downtime. I thought G.W .Bush took way too many vacations for someone who got us into an occupation of Iraq and then had no idea what to do once the guerilla war began in earnest, I had no problems with Clinton or Obama. Only problem I have with President Trump takings lots of vacation time is the stunning hypocrisy of it. Trump complained mightily about Obama's vacation time and especially of Obama playing golf. So now Trump has spent the last three weekends taking vacations and playing golf!


FLOTUS Melania Trump appears with BlackForTrump2020, a group that's "far out and I hope they stay there"! (Quote is from Banana Splits)


A major campaign promise was to have a plan to defeat Daesh/ISIS within 30 days of the President's inauguration. Oops! But, to use a World War II analogy (My detailed comment is here) we're in late 1944 right now, well after the battles of Kursk, Guadalcanal and Normandy. Best plan now is to just keep on with the same plan.


This is very, VERY excellent news! Back in 2012, Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS) decided to massively cut taxes, expecting prosperity to flood in. That didn't happen and citizens of Kansas have finally said "Enough, already!"


It's good that the new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to clean up Superfund toxic waste sites. Now, the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to regulate excess carbon as pollution. For some reason, Pruitt wants to re-open the question to presumably open the way to put still more carbon into the atmosphere.


Good! Court rules that doctors can indeed discuss guns with their patients. Guns are indeed a faimly safety issue.


Okay, so the proposed Republican alternative the the ACA/Obamacare is unveiled at last and it's meaner and stingier than the ACA in important respects.


Piece purports to identify sources of "real news," but essentially, it just names the big, established brands. There have been quite a few specific problems with the first three brands named (NYT, WSJ, WaPo). Readers would be better off examining each piece they read separately as opposed to saying "This brand s generally more reliable than that brand." Just the other day, a conservative complained that Media Matters was "hardly a reliable source," but couldn't cite any reason to not take its reporting seriously.


In defending his executive order on deporting long-time resident undocumented immigrants, President Trump "...tied crime rates in various cities across the country to 'transnational criminal cartels.'”
Okay, but who's getting busted and deported?

Following Donald Trump’s executive order expanding the power of immigration authorities, those affected have included a married mom of two, an individual protected by DACA, and a victim of domestic violence who was in court seeking a protective order. Now ICE has moved on to target people seeking safety from deadly weather.


Oklahoma just passed a law to "bring the father into the conversation" of whether or not a woman can have an abortion. "My bill would stop an abortion if a father does not agree to the abortion..."
The problem with that concept is that pregnancy/abortion is an all or nothing choice. 49% of the decision is effectively 0% of the decision, 51% is effectively 100%. There's no practical, meaningful way any two people can both have 50% of the decision.
My vote of course is that the woman must have 100% of the decision.


This is one of those "Yeah, yeah, we've known that for years" things, but it's good to get proof from social scientists that yes, strict Voter ID laws do more to suppress votes from people who are likely to vote Democratic than anything else.


President Trump asked a reporter to get him in touch with the Black Caucus (bcause, y'know, she was black and all black know each other). D'on! Seems the Black Caucus tried to get in touch with him several weeks ago!  Their Tweet: 

Hi, @realDonaldTrump. We’re the CBC. We sent you a letter on January 19, but you never wrote us back. Sad!


Wow! I truly and seriously do not believe the President knew of the existence of the Congressional Black Caucus before this. It really and truly sounded as if he was hearing of them for the first time.

One of the items Trump complained about today was inheriting a lousy economy from Obama. Actually, although it still has many long-term problems, Obama handed over a reasonably healthy economy

Hmm. Okay. President Trump complains about getting an "unfair question." He is not himself, personally, anti-Semitic. He's not personally opposed to the Jewish people as a group. Sure. Okay. But there has been a rise in Antisemitism. There have been violent and insulting acts since late January of this year. People with Nazi beliefs have felt empowered and energized by the Trump Administration. Yes, it's an entirely fair and proper question nd he didn't answer it at all.


Saudis are being smart and looking to the future. They know that oil prices will crash in the early 2020s, so they're trying to diversify while they have the cash to do it.


On Monday evening the Freedom Caucus made the risky decision to return to pushing the 2015 repeal bill, arguing that it’s already proven it can win majorities in both chambers and clear the Senate’s parliamentary hurdles.

But there's a very important, very critical distinction between 2015 and today. In 2015, President Obama's veto pen was the assurance that the 2015 vote to repeal the ACA/Obamacare was a 'free' vote, one that wouldn't have any consequences. Today, there's nothing to prevent a repeal bill from becoming law and a total of 30 million people who didn't have health insurance before 2014 would all lose their plans..


In order to justify their immigration ban, the Trump Administration produces a list of terrorist suspects. Some of the examples are legitimate, but there's quite a bit of list-padding here as it includes quite a few suspects whose crimes have nothing to do with terrorism. Kind of interesting that they came up with the number 72 as "72 virgins" is a popular reward for engaging in holy war.
BTW, the US has settled over three quarters of a million refugees, including nearly 280,000 Muslims, since 9/11.


Huh! Very interesting. Somehow, Fox News has no problem posting a celebratory tweet about Joy Villa being a supporter of President Trump, but Katy Perry is somehow violating some sort of norm by speaking out in opposition.


"A proposed Tennessee bill aims to label children born through artificial insemination illegitimate."

This is why, when people say they're "pro-life,"* I have to wonder exactly what they mean by that term. Why do they seek to create divisions and hate and discontent and completely unnecessary aggravation?

*The Twitter feed of the Repesentative who proposed the bill does not feature any anti-choice statements by her, but has numerous such statements by others. 

Update: Ah, here we go. The purpose of the proposal is to discriminate against same-sex couples. 


White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns, "making him one of the shortest-serving senior presidential advisers in modern history."


Senior presidential advisor Stephen Miller says

"President Trump has done more in three weeks than most other presidents did in their entire administrations." 

Wow! Fascist, heel-clicking henchman much? To be clear, President Trump's "accomplishments" in his first 25 days has been to put out an executive order that that courts have demolished and launched an operation in Yemen that was a complete disaster.

The Morning Joe crowd is utterly astonished and rightly so!


Wow! What an incredibly vicious, cold-hearted SOB Congressman Sensenbrenner is! I can understand that Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has been voting to repeal the ACA/Obamacare for years. I can also understand that if the ACA isn't repealed in the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, it probably never will be. But repealing it without a replacement will leave 30 million American citizens without the healthcare they've just gained in the last few years. Congress is nowhere near agreeing on even a basic design for a new plan. Sensenbrenner seems sorta, kinda, vaguely aware of the dilemma, but he's right now more concerned with just plain shutting down the critics than he is with resolving the dilemma.


10-year old asks a pretty basic, straightforward question: "Do you believe in science?" after describing threats to our air and water. In a sad day for our nation, a Republican Representative fails to convince his audience that, yes, he believes in science. Very sad!


Okay, so our President tweets that: "Our legal system is broken! "77% of refugees allowed into U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries." (WT) SO DANGEROUS!"
Problem: The Trump Administration has utterly and completely failed to prove that there's anything dangerous about people arriving from the seven countries in question. That's the problem with the immigration order. We're not just talking about a few passages that could be worded better.


The Election Assistance Commission is the only federal agency specifically tasked with seeing to it that elections are kept honest, so why is Congress trying to eliminate it?!??!
Fortunately, the GOP is not in lockstep and there are plenty of state secretaries of state who would like to keep the agency.


Oh, okay. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is now the face of the Democrats? Works for me!
Of course, President Trump's continued use of a derogatory term for Native Americans doesn't bode well for the Standing Rock Sioux, who are defending their section of the Missouri River.


President Trump finds hiw work challenging. Seems pretty overwhelmed by it all. I don't find this at all surprising. G.W. Bush claimed that he'd find good people to advise him to make up for his lack of policy knowledge. Problem is, when you lack policy knowledge, you also lack the judgment necessary to pick good people.Obama did deep dives into policy details. He knew that good policies take massive efforts and years to construct. Trump's immigration executive order and the military raid in Yemen were complete cluster****s because they were hurried, slapdash affairs.


EVEN Representative Jason Chaffetz (Who's been sitting around, not wanting to investigate the Trump Administration) had to finally decided to get off of his butt to do, y'know, HIS JOB as the head of the House Oversight Committee and to call out a member of his own party on a really, REALLY blatant violation (Krllyanne Conway's televised plea in front of the White Hose briefing room to buy Ivanka's stuff).


Trump Administration says they want social media passwords from people enering the country. 
First off, we've brought in over 3/4ths of a million refugees since 9/11 and have had fewer than a half-dozen incidents from them. The Trump Administration is trying to fix what isn't broken.
I can understand wanting to see social media accounts. I can understand why you'd want to identify those. Not sure why we need to collect passwords. That sounds to me like an unnecessarily intrusive measure.


Several people have posted a graphic showing the profile of right and left news sites to be absolutely symmetrical. These diagrams make it look as though the far left is just as bad and unbelievable as the far right. Media Matters has never pretended to be a middle-of-the-road source, but they draw some important distinctions between the two sides here.


My photoessay as of the 15th day of the Trump Presidency.


A generally negative piece on the clusterf*** of a raid in Yemen, but I'd like to call attention to this paragraph: "And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home."
This is something that G.W. Bush avoided doing, so I commend President Trump for doing it. .


Very happy to see the effort to repeal the ACA/Obamacare is losing steam. The GOP is now facing the problem of: 

But now Republicans are learning the difference between posturing against a law, and cherry-picking its downsides, and actually having to endorse an alternative position. When you have to pick winners and losers, not just complain about the losers in the other party’s law, you make people mad.


Jill Stein of the Green Party blasts Democrats for the confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. But it's difficult to see what Democrats could have done since the election to have been more effective then they were. All 48 democratic Senators voted against DeVos.


President Trump sets up a "listening session" for veterans. The very small guest list doesn't include any veteran's organizations advocates.


SMDH! (Shakin' My Damn Head) Senator Warren quoted a letter by Coretta Scott King written in 1986 that opposed the confirmation of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for a judgeship. Warren was silenced by Majority Leader McConnell in a very low point for the US Senate that will live in infamy for a long time. .


From TalkingPointsMemo:

Melania Trump’s lawyers alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday that the First Lady’s “unique once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to profit from her White House role was damaged by a Daily Mail article claiming she once worked as an escort.

Not clear from the piece whether she was supposed to start profiting immediately or after her husband left office.


I think President Trump's problem with media reporting on terrorism is that they restrict themselves to reporting real events that have actually occurred. Fake stories like the "Bowling Green Massacre" are described accurately as fake stories.


Liberals like myself were having great fun over Kellyanne Conway's "Bowling Green Massacre" comment. Conway claims she just made a slip of the tongue.Problem with that theory is that she had also added that President Obama had instituted a travel ban "because two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills..."
Nope. That story includes a completely made-up detail. The two idiots who tried to send rocket launchers through the mail never left the US.


Back after John Boehner took over from Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, Boehner was caught by surprise a number of times by how his own caucus wanted to vote on measures. Pelosi had never been caught by surprise and always knew how her caucus felt about everything. I just can't imagine President Obama signing an EO (Executive Order) without being 100% aware of what it said and meant.


Well, uh...yeah! When your team bypasses a whole series of, y'know, checks and balances and just runs ahead and puts something into place, then yes, that means there's going to be chaos.


Good to see that at least a few Republicans got a bit upset over President Trump's remarks that suggest killing political opponents is no big deal.


Senate Majority Leader McConnell takes a good position on President Trump's wild, hysterical voter fraud claims.  Basically, voter fraud is a state problem (The federal government already investigated those claims 2002-05).


Very, very bad news from Japan. "A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks."
Fukushima reactor #2 is putting out 530 sieverts. Fukushina was wrecked by a combination earthquake/tsunami back in 2011.


Interesting that the somewhat conservative Economist and the left-leaning Daily Kos would come to the exact same conclusion, that President Trump is a chaos agent. The chaos we've seen for the past two weeks is not accidental. It's part of Trump's very deliberate, very thought-out strategy.


The jobs report is a very good one. President Trump very suddenly declares that the job numbers are wonderful. Of course, as Blitzer says, he had a very different view on those same numbers when the other president was in charge. Thing is, steering the economy is like steering an oil tanker. You've got a big ship and a small engine. Now, if you start up a big initiative, such as the 2009 stimulus , then you can have a big effect right away. But modest changes take a long time to have an effect.


US Federal District Court judge halts Muslim immigration ban. Temporary, but might be made permanent later on.


WaPo headline: "Kellyanne Conway cites ‘Bowling Green massacre’ that never happened to defend travel ban." 

So either presidential spokesperson Kellyanne Conway carelessly confused the facts and spoke without a script or she was trying to gin up another Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Being a more suspicious type, I'm inclined to believe the latter, but I agree we have the strong possibility of the former being true. 

Update: Twitter users react hilariously.


Trump launches a military raid. Raid is horribly botched with leadership from White House being very poor.


So how are things doing in Ukraine? Ehh, not so hot.


A CNN producer was caught up in the new immigration order. Mohammed Tawfeeq is an Emmy-nominated CNN producer and is an Iraqi national, but has been a legal resident of the United States since 2013. This gives CNN a powerful, first-hand reason to "have a dog in that fight."


Well, we can clearly count out the House Oversight Committee as having any meaningful impact in the next several years as the fellow in charge, Representative Jason Chaffetz, just doesn't seem to have much interest in investigating the new President. Keep in mind the headline that "Rep. Chaffetz Promises ‘Years’ Of Clinton Investigations If She’s Elected" back during last October.


Newt Gingrich has a point. When Sally Yates said in a letter: "...nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” that was indeed a statement that came reasonably close to being a case of insubordination. But an Attorney General's job is not so just salute and do what the boss tells her to do, it's to ensure that the policies she's being told to execute are lawful.


The UN's Human Rights division, the European Union and Doctors Without Borders all weigh in on the US's immigration policy of excluding citizens from specific Islamic nations.


January                        back to top


Supreme Court nominee has been picked.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s crusade against Planned Parenthood


"So Richmond," you ask, "how can I tell whether our political leadership is leaning towards fascism or not?"
"The US Holocaust Museum put out a handy-dandy guide of 12 items to watch for."


"AP: Trump's voter fraud expert registered in 3 states." Ha, ha, ha! But actually, this brings up a good point. There's nothing really wrong with being registered in two or more states. The real problem comes if you try to vote in two or more states! If you vote in just one state and the other "account" remains inactive, no biggie.
The reason I mention this is because if a voting station has several dead people on their lists, that's not a problem until living people try to exploit those unused "accounts" to cast illegal votes with. If a dead person on the rolls doesn't actually "cast a vote," then what' the problem?


Happy to hear that Senate Democrats stood firm on the Betsy DeVos nomination to be the Secretary of Education. Very sad that Republican Senators could not take their partisan blinders off long enough to see that DeVos is utterly unqualified for the post and will do far more to damage our educational system than to help it.


Hmm, so just as with Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" of 1973, President Trump apparently had to burn through several candidates before he found someone pliable enough to give him the answer he wanted.


As Joy Reid says, this interview gives us great clarity into what anti-choicers stand for. One would think they'd approve of contraception as that would have the effect of fewer abortons, but no. 

Of concern is the statement: "That’s why we want Planned Parenthood’s money to go to health centers which don’t do contraception.”

Okay, but Federal Health Centers exist because of the ACA/Obamacare and anti-choicers are strongly against the ACA because the rest of the Republican Party is. 


Very, very interesting that the just-fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates was asked a highly relevant question by the current Attorney General nominee Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III during her confirmation hearing.


The acting Attorney General Sally Yates questions the legal basis for President Trump's Muslim ban and refuses to defend it before she gets a staisfactory explanation. She was promptly fired. Over 100 State Department employees had aleady circulated a letter opposing the ban. 


Yeah, very interesting correlations here. None of the seven majority-Muslim countries have ever sent people over to the US to commit terrorist acts. Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and the UAE have, but they're 1. not included in the Muslim ban and 2. host Trump properties


Heh! The ACLU typically pulls in about $4 million a year in online donations. They pulled in $24 million over the weekend.


Oh yeah, remember that Secretary of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, who said everything with that immigration blockage was going great? Erm, where did he get his information? Why, by watching TV, of course!


I'm sure everyone's familiar with what's called a "win-win" situation. Two people give up something of value but get what they consider to be of greater value in return. There's also what's called a "lose-lose" situation. Someone surrenders something of value but gets nothing worthwhile in return.
In this case, Kellyanne Conway describes a situation where the US surrenders its image as welcoming land of opportunity and second chances in return for  very highly dubious promises of greater security.


The White House explains why its Holocaust memorial statement did not mention Jews. It's not a very convincing explanation.


White House issues immigration ban from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. 
As though having the air travel all over the country pretty much shut down wasn't causing enough problems:
"After DHS determined Trump's immigration ban didn't apply to green card holders, Steve Bannon intervened so it would."
What's Congress' role? Ha, ha! They've acted to enable the ban.
Judge very quickly blocks the ban as it's far from clear that it serves any national security purpose.


During the 2012 campaign, there were a lot of discussions as to whether being a successful businessman would make Mitt Romney a good president. Liberals like myself concluded that no, success in one field doesn't necessarily predict success in the other. But businesspeople have a lot to teach us about management and running successful organizations. Businesspeople have looked at the Trump Administration so far and they think it looks like a poorly-run business


Christiane Amanpour has decades of experience covering foreign countries, so when she compares the US to other dictatorial countries, she knows what she's talking about.


For the purpose of moving fossil fuels, pipelines are safer than trains or trucks, but only relatively. Story is about 138,000+ gallons of diesel fuel leaking in in Iowa. A far better option is to stop using fossil fuels entirely and to switch to renewable energy.


Very interesting. Dystopian novels are making a big comeback. 1984 is selling really well. As I recall, Werewolf, Frankenstein, Dracula and the new creation Ghost Rider were really popular comic books during the Watergate era.


The former President of Mexico has said this, but now the current President of Mexico goes on the record. If the US wants to build a wall, the entire cost of it will have to come from us.


Aww! Mary Tyler Moore passes away at 80 years.


When Native Americans stood against the Dakota Access pipeline, they were standing up for the interests of all of humanity. We all lose if either of these pipelines are built! We need to do as China is doing and to go full speed ahead to renewable energy! 350.org's Pledge of Resistece


Hmm, yeah. I can believe that Donald treats Melania poorly without believing Melania is some sort of innocent victim.


President Trump issues a gag order to prevent agencies from talking directly to Congress.


So is the Texas voter ID law discriminatory? Well, let's see...
"The seven types of government-issued identification permitted under the law as proof of identity included a driver's license, a concealed handgun license, a military ID card and a U.S. passport but not state university ID cards or identification issued to obtain welfare benefits."
Gee. I wonder why they'd exclude those last two forms of ID? Hmmmm.


Now, there are five Trump children. Donald Jr., who is 39, Ivanka is 35, Eric is 33, Tiffany (Who's kept herself out of the news) is 23 and Barron is 11. The three oldest children are entirely fair game and can take care of themselves, but an SNL writer picked on Barron and was properly scorned and criticized for doing so.


Heh! Kellyanne Conway coins a new phrase: "Alternative facts," about the crowd size at Trump's inauguration. Gotta love it!


My coverage of the Women's March in Philadelphia the day after Trump's inauguration. The reviews are in and the President's Inaugural Speech was about the darkest, most divisive, most ominous speech I've ever read from any American President. Oh yes, and that march got plenty of tsk-tsking from right-wingers. 


Preliminary report on Donald Trump's Inauguration.


*Sigh* a fond look back at our last president. What did he accomplish? Quite a bit, actually!


Having a big tent and taking in a wide variety of groups is a great idea in theory, but I have a hard time seeing how an anti-choice group counts as a feminist group. There's a limit as to how big the tent can be and still represent a coherent movement.


Okay, so the Trump team's plan is to make sharp and deep cuts to government spending. Seems I've heard that one before. Oh yeah!  Reagan tried to eliminate the office of Legal Services as well and that office is still around. Hey, whatevuh! Poor people don't need legal representation anyway! And of course they want to eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and to scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Let's just burn up the planet. Never mind that 2016 was the hottest year ever on record.


The team that President-Elect Trump has assembled for his cabinet is an extremely weak one that has to do lots and lots of OJT (On the Job Training) in order to reach minimal proficiency. Could Republican Senators and Congresspersons possibly care less? Doesn't appear so.


A horrifying sort of "Greatest Hits" of Mrs DeVos' answers. Essentially, her qualification to be the Secretary of Edcation is that shes wealthy and she's made lots of campaign contributions.to Republican politicians.


Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning's sentence commuted so that she will be released in May of this year as opposed to 2045.


Heh! With four days lefy until the inaugration, scalpers are losing their shirts! They thought they were making an investment by buying inauguration tickets. Oops! Very low demand means they can't sell them! 


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March. Lots and lots of concern about the incoming Trump Administration.


Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will close after 146 years. I might possibly have seen a show, but think I was five or less. Problems with how they treated animals was a big factor.


Hey wow! Amazingly enough, when you pledge to remove 30 million people off of their health care plans (around 10 million on Medicaid and 20 million on an ACA plan), they express a bit of concern about that!


It's purely a matter of dishonest crocodile tears to weep that Democrats are asking uncomfortable questions about the legitimacy of the 2016 election. If Trump started pressing the Birther conspiracy theory at 9:00am on a workday, he finally quit doing so around 4:45pm.


Major news media are projecting a bit, I think. They're accusing Buzzfeed of putting out "fake news" by putting out the admittedly unverified Trump dossier. The dossier is a collection of accounts by Russian agents who have interacted with Trump and his people. 

So what is fake news? How about allowing proponents of trickle-down economics to get on the airwaves and promote it as a policy that creates jobs and encourages wealth building for the masses, when reality and deterministic numerical analysis prove otherwise? That’s fake news. The mainstream media lies through their acquiescence and virtual silence.


Update on the D.C. National Guard General being asked to turn over duties in the middle of the Inauguration. Good news. As of April 2017, Major General Schwartz is still in charge


Several pieces in here of note: A Tweet from Andrew Kaczynski tells us that friendly intelligence agencies are looking into the dossier on President-Elect Trump to see how much of it is true. Could the US have properly done that job itself? Well, as Joy Reid and The Hill report, FBI Director Comey appears to have waved aside accusations of Russian hacking in order to focus on Hillary Clinton's email protocols. Very seriously, Comey is accused of failing to properly inform Democratic lawmakers that the Russian hacking was taking place. Is the House Oversight Committee of any use? Vox reports, uh, no.


*Sigh*, fellow from Fox News drags out that old charge, that Senator Elizabeth Warren "the ELITE Elizabeth Warren, who had not been truthful about her ethnicity..."
When Warren was asked for demographic purposes to tell her employer what her ancestry was, she replied that she had some Native Americans in her family tree. This was something she had been told while growing up. Did she gain any material benefit with that claim? No, because her colleagues would have insisted on proof, some sort of documentary evidence, to back up her claim. There is no such evidence, so no material benefits were ever offered.


Major problem for Israel is that the Israel vs Palestine issue has become a partisan one. Republicans are still strongly pro-Israel (74%), but Democrats are considerably less so (33%).


One of my big problems with the conservative drive to take out Planned Parenthood is that PP does a lot more than just abortions. They also provide reproductive health services that other places don't. Speaker Ryan says hey, not a problem! Federal Health Centers will take up the slack. Erm, slight problem with that. The ACA/Obamacare funds Federal Health Centers and guess what both the House and Senate have been busily trying to kill for the past week?


See, here's the problem with having inexperienced people in office, people who have never held political positions of responsibility before. HUD Secretary nominee Ben Carson accuses LGBTQ people of wanting "extra" rights. No, they want to be explicitly guaranteed the same rights that everybody else has.


So the Senate held a vote-a-rama last night where they defeated every single, solitary amendment in favor of beginning the process of straight-out repealing the ACA/Obamacare. So much for the earlier promise of preserving the no pre-existing conditions clause.
But liberals and Democrats can be proud because all of the Democrats stood up to oppose repealing the ACA. Every. Single. One.


Are sex scandals important in the Trump-Russian collusion/alliance? Naw, forget the sex stuff, the real scandal is highly likely to be financial in nature. BTW, interesting quote:
"In fact, big business people often seal deals at strip clubs, and sex parties in St. Petersburg were likely to be sweeteners for a business deal. Only puritan Americans would think it was the sex party that was the important thing."


Republicans in 2009, led by then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, insisted on a whole list of criteria before confirmation hearings could take place. Now, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to brush those very same criteria aside for completely BS reasons. 

Senator Inhofe acknowledges the double standard that they're applying to Trump nominees and Obama's nominees, but insists it's no big deal.


Saw a posting from 2014 advocating housing the homeless before trying to do anything else for them. This update says that the program works well. The initial costs to the public are high, but quickly decline when the once-homeless are settled into housing.


GOP promises that no one will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.This is a great promise and I totally support this, but Republicans in the House and Senate are a long way from agreeing on a plan that's both different from the ACA and that preserves those 20 million health care plans. Great promise, but I hope the promise-makers are fully aware that it will take years to develop such a plan.


Senator Jeff Session has claimed that as the US Attorney for Alabama, he "filed 20 or 30 civil rights cases." Investigations show that his record is considerably more modest than that. As a US Attorney, his name was more or less automatically placed on many civil-rights lawsuits, but participants say he had very little to actually do with them.


Good discussion on The View on Planned Parenthood and federal funding. I, of course, completely agree with Goldberg!
Also, if right-wingers want to start up organizations that do everything for women but abortions, there's nothing stopping them from doing so. Only reason that doesn't happen is that it isn't profitable. PP serves a very poor population.


Very cool! China plans to spend 2.5 trillion Yuan or $361 billion by 2020 on renewable energy!


Whoops! Sorry! Wrong answer! Mexico's not paying for a border wall after all.


Woo hoo! Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) advocated abysmally awful ideas concerning Iran, but he's 100% correct here. The ACA should not be repealed until a replacement plan is in place. How long is that likely to take? The American free enterprise system had several decades to come up with a better idea and couldn't.


Doesn't strike me as being very bright. Speaker Ryan wants to fight two battles at once, the anti-ACA/Obamacare fight and the anti-Planned Parenthood fight.
Hey, works for me! The more fronts you fight on, the greater the chance of defeat.


Wow! Woman's March in Washington DC already has 150,000 people who have signed up to take part in it!
"They’re not anti-Trump; they’re just pro-everything Trump and his followers hate / fear / despise."


Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) thought she’d take the temperature of her constituents regarding the Affordable Care Act and it didn’t quite go as Blackburn planned. Turns out, people like having health insurance: The vote on her poll was 84% favorable and only 16% opposed. 


Teachers being instructed to "out" gay students to their parents?
Yeah, I think there's about a 100% chance that telling the parents of a closeted gay student that the student is gay will result in ugly consequences for the student. If a students has not voluntarily confided in his or her parents, there's probably a good reason for that.


McConnell insists that Americans will not accept Democrats blocking a SCOTUS nominee.
Let me put it this way - some Americans seem to have thought it was perfectly fair to have blocked a Democratic SCOTUS nominee for most of a year. Other Americans think a turnabout in this case is appropriate and fair.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's spokesperson says: "Surely [Senate Democrats] won't object to treating the incoming president's nominees with the same courtesy and seriousness with which the Senate acted on President Obama's nominees."
Okay. Let's take a close, detailed look at how Obamas' nominees were treated in 2009, shall we?


In one of the very first acts of the newly sworn-in House of Representatives, Republicans vote to gut their Office of Congressional Ethics. They shortly changed their minds and reinstated it after citizens complained furiously, but it was not an auspicious beginning


Turns out that PEOTUS Trump charged  $575 to attend his New Year's Eve party. Is this a reasonable cost? Sure, if you're a businessperson with a product or service to pitch to the President-Elect. If you're a regular person, no. Same goes for the proposed $70,000 coffee with Ivanka Trump or the proposed $1 million hunting trip with Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. 


More on the fantasies and wishful thinking of those who want to toss out the ACA/Obamcare. Darrell Issa appears to be under the impression that tort reform alone can make the ACA unneeded. Both this piece and the NCBI agree that tort or liability reform would save, at most, around 2% to 3% of medical costs. Of course, it isn't clear how, when instituting tort reform, doctors would be disciplined for conducting sloppy medicine.


Good to hear this. The largely white and at least somewhat wealthy environmental movement is having to peek out of its shell and to bring in other demographics. Neither Flint, MI or Standing Rock, ND had the attention of the environmental movement at first.
And yes, I was heavily involved in the anti-war movement of the early aughts and felt at the time it was a largely elderly, very white movement.