United States of Authoritarianism: July 2-July 8

  1. I want to point out one eye popping item from this article. 33 billion (yes, BILLYUN) in the tax cuts goes to FOUR HUNDRED HOUSEHOLDS.

Got pitchforks?

2. Of course not. DHS wouldn’t want to risk deligitimizing itself.

3. And really this is just the Republicans. Dems have no hand in this. I wonder what it’s like being in the House right now watching these clowns blunder back and forth? I mean you promote bitter and non-yielding extremists in your party, well they’re not going to agree among themselves, are they?

Passing a budget is about much more than next year’s spending for GOP lawmakers. It also sets the stage for special budget procedures — known as reconciliation instructions — that will allow Republicans to pass major legislation without a filibuster from Senate Democrats.
But even the promise of tax reform and long-term spending cuts has not yet been enough to bring a fractious group of House Republicans together. A scheduled Thursday meeting of the House Budget Committee to prepare a budget resolution for a floor vote was canceled Tuesday amid continued GOP infighting.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), a Budget Committee member, lamented Tuesday that the budget “should have been put to bed a long time ago.”
“It’s almost like we’re serving in the minority right now,” he said. “We just simply don’t know how to govern.”

4. If they don’t simply seize power after some traumatizing event like a global economic crash, another 9/11 event, etc., that is…

Trump is the ultimate (and predictable) outcome of the GOP’s pandering to bigots. He has been sued by the government for refusing to rent apartments in his buildings to black people. His casinos were fined for removing black card dealers. He was one of the leaders of the birther movement. He attacks a judge as biased merely because he’s of Mexican descent. He does not condemn the many white supremacists campaigning for him. He refers to “the blacks” as some monolithic group that is universally poor and uneducated. His attacks on Muslim-Americans have been reprehensible.

5. Well that’s interesting. We’ll see if it has any actual results. Remember also, this is the same Congress that is trying to kill us all with tax cuts financed by removal of healthcare so that 400 households get 33 billion in tax cuts.

The Senate, for instance, passed an amendment reaffirming support for NATO’s Article 5 principle that an attack on one member is an attack on all — a vote that came after Trump did not reaffirm the principle during his speech at NATO headquarters. The House passed a similar resolution on the floor this week to reaffirm the US commitment to NATO.
Key Republican senators are also injecting themselves directly into foreign policy decisions.
After Trump took Saudi Arabia’s side in the blockade of Qatar by four Gulf countries — putting him at odds with statements from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker got involved.
The Tennessee Republican said he would use his authority as chairman to block any new foreign arms sales to all of the countries involved until a path to a resolution was found.

6. Read this tweet thread. Because I have no words for this stupid AF gif the idiot POTUS just tweeted this morning.

And apparently the base footage does exist. (I thought someone had done an amazing video-shopped base for it.) It comes from this incident 10 years ago:

7. I want to consider the parallels between the toxic ‘hegemonic masculinity’ described here

and Трамп’s own batshit behavior.

8. And about that travel ban… although you and I know it’s not about actually working; it’s about disruption because no one quite knows what’s going on or what’s going to happen.

9. CNN’s response.

Now, MY juvenile response is, OH LOOK! One fake billionaire dry-humping another billionaire.

Maybe popularizing that take on it would cause heads to explode in the WH?

Oh, GOP’s response.

*crickets*

10. While I do not blame her in the slightest for getting out, this increasingly leaves the current WH free to do as they will. Every time a good person resigns from this administration, Trump and Bannon move closer to their stated goal of “deconstructing the administrative state.”
(Warning, annoying video autoplay.)

11. Worth reading.

There is something insidious and corrosive about trying to evaluate the severity of every offense, trying to give each an individual grade on the scale of absurdity. Trump himself is the offense.
[…]
Donald Trump is depending on people’s fatigue. He is banking on your becoming overwhelmed by his never-ending antics. He is counting on his capacity to wear down the resistance by sheer force.
We must be adamant that that will never come to pass. Trump is an abomination, and a cancer on the country, and none of us can rest until he is no longer holding the reins of power.

Happy Fourth.

12. None of us are fooled.

GOP senators want the Congressional Budget Office to produce new scores of the bill following the CBO’s brutal assessment that their original version would cause 22 million people to lose their health insurance over 10 years and drastically raise out-of-pocket costs for millions more.

13. Oh, and on that shit voter fraud commission?

Digital security experts say the commission’s request would centralize and lay bare a valuable cache of information that cyber criminals could use for identity theft scams — or that foreign spies could leverage for disinformation schemes.

14. Among many other points but especially this:

It’s July and Donald Trump hasn’t even nominated candidates for hundreds of key positions in his government. It’s crossed the point where it doesn’t even appear that he plans on filling most of these positions. I’ve grown to think that a part of his strategy is to destroy the government from the inside out by simply leaving hundreds of vital positions vacant in perpetuity.

15. Makes sense to me. It also explains places like California, where more of the people have had exposure to POC, religious minorities and so on.

The story we’ve told ourselves — that working-class whites flocked to Trump due to job worries or free trade or economic populism — is basically wrong, the research papers released this week suggest.
They did flock to Trump. But the reason they did so in enough numbers for Trump to win wasn’t anxiety about the economy. It was anxiety about Mexicans, Muslims and blacks.

This is particularly where I think the die hard Bernie supporters get it wrong. And in particular, a close look at Clinton’s campaign platform addressed every economic anxiety possible; she missed the resentment, too, but not so badly as Sanders.

“I’ve got three words for you: scared white people,” Parker says. “Every period of racial progress in this country is followed by a period of retrenchment. That’s what the 2016 election was about, and it was plain as it was happening.”
To be clear: Neither Parker, nor the latest research, is saying that Trump voters are all racists. Most voting is simply party-line no matter who is running. What they’re saying is that worries about the economy, free trade and the rest were no more important in 2016 than in previous elections, but racial resentment spiked.
It makes sense, considering the candidate himself was maligning Mexicans and openly calling for banning Muslims.

However… not surprised by this either. I love you, U.S. but oh my god, you have got to let this shit go. Listen to the man and don’t witter on about his race. I’m sure he’s correct about why he’s overlooked.

What’s doubly interesting is that Parker suspects the reason his research gets overlooked is because he is black. He senses it’s assumed that as a black man he must be biased about race, or is too quick to invoke it.

16. Not a role reversal I expected to see, but welcome nevertheless. It makes me wonder how much future damage the Moscow Muppet will do if he manages to nominate much of the bench that is open right now :-/ But for now…

An appeals court Monday struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s 90-day suspension of new emission standards on oil and gas wells, a decision that could set back the Trump administration’s broad legal strategy for rolling back Obama-era rules.
In a 2-to-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the EPA had the right to reconsider a 2016 rule limiting methane and smog-forming pollutants emitted by oil and gas wells but could not delay the effective date while it sought to rewrite the regulation.

Temporary reprieve, but I will take it.

17. Трамп: “Derp derp derp derp.”

18. Wow.

19. So I guess the next Global robotics event will be in Canada. Or France.

Five students from the West African country The Gambia will have to present their robot — which they built in shift ‘rigorous shifts’ throughout Ramadan — via Skype having received application denials from the U.S. embassy in Banjul.
[…]An all-girls robotics team from Afghanistan will also not be in attendance at the FIRST Global robotics event, have been similarly denied their visas.

20. This is not good.

21. The ugly underside of the wheeling and “dealing” in human lives and money on the health care bill.

22. Well, yeah. Though if Трамп doesn’t fund the cost-sharing-reduction subsidies they can force it to fail if they don’t succeed at repeal-and-eviscerate.

23. …

24. I got nothin’ /facepalm

(I’m fond of this one)

An example set.

25. Hurricane _Don_…

26. There are some very interesting issues here:

see also

27. That video clip is disturbing.

28. Because of course.

29. Not Germans. Americans. And yes, me included.

30. Er. I mean, her plan is still there on her campaign site, you fuckers. Pick it up if you like. Otherwise, she’s a fucking private citizen now, you morons.

Seriously. Seriously.

31. /sighs

32. Oh quelle surprise.

“I think it shows a carelessness in their desire to come in and shake things up and do what they want and to do so with a disregard for the rules,” said Shapiro, who is also a contributor to The Hill.
“We saw it with the immigration ban, we saw it with the court overturning the delay of the methane rules,” he said, referring to a federal appeals court decision on Monday that prevents the administration from suspending enforcement of a rule restricting methane emissions.
“They aren’t following the rules, and when you don’t follow the rules, eventually someone points that out and you have to go back and follow them.”

Or they are shattered beyond enforcement. Emoluments clause, anyone?

33. Hmmm

Meanwhile, the Times piece looks at a bunch of claims by congressional Republicans. Among them: The dopey, dissembling, nonsensical assertions that the GOP bill somehow keeps the Medicaid expansion and that Medicaid spending actually goes up (the GOP bill phases out the ACA’s federal contributions to the expansion and dramatically cuts Medicaid spending relative to current law, which would leave 15 million fewer covered by that program). And some Republicans are actually blaming Obamacare for the fact that some remain uncovered by the Medicaid expansion in states where GOP governors didn’t opt into it.
All of these lies and distortions, in one way or another, are meant to obscure two basic realities: The ACA, for all its problems, is actually helping millions and millions of people, and the GOP bill would undo much of those gains. This would not be necessary, if Republicans were willing to forthrightly defend their actual policy goals and the principles and priorities underlying them.
Interestingly, moderate Republican senators are in fact acknowledging the priorities embedded in the GOP plan when they criticize it for trying to roll back the help that the ACA is giving to millions and millions of poor people in order to finance huge tax cuts for the rich. But you don’t see many congressional Republicans who support the bill admitting to its most basic features, or defending them with an argument as to why its projected consequences would be worth the bill’s trade-offs. Instead, these realities are buried under piles of horse manure about “smooth glide paths” and “rescue missions” and “bridges to better health care” and “soft landings” and all the other claims recounted above about how the ACA doesn’t do what it actually does and how GOP bill wouldn’t actually do what it is intended to do.

34. I feel so much safer.

The Los Angeles Times reports Wednesday morning that foreign policy experts are worried that President Trump could be caught flat-footed at his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg on Friday. Even Trump’s aides acknowledge the president’s unwillingness to read the briefings they have compiled about his cunning Russian counterpart.
As a result, they have opted for their best chance of penetrating the president’s consciousness: “a list of tweet-length sentences that summarize the main points Trump could bring up with Putin.”

35. Ouch.

This is the first time in history that the United States has been attacked by another country and not come together as a nation

36. Stay classy, WH.

37. This one is actually on his team who should be taking care of these details. What the hell?

The White House apparently waited too long before making a reservation for Trump and his traveling staff for the summit, which begins on Friday. All the luxury hotels in the city were completely booked by other world leaders, leaving the US president — who made his name in business building, uh, luxury hotels — without a place to stay.

Yes, well, THIS part is the idiot-in-chief’s fault, I guess:

So why does this keep happening? It might have to do with the fact that the State Department is currently understaffed and unorganized. Only nine key positions out of 124 have been confirmed at the State Department.
No one has even been nominated as the director in the Office of Foreign Missions, which is responsible for planning and providing security for US missions when diplomats and other top officials travel abroad.

38. A good thought provoking read.

39. Because regulations are awful and unnecessary…

40. Uh…

Also I guess it depends on who writes out his shit and whether he decides to use it or go off on his own.

Trump’s speech was also notable for its explicit commitment to Article 5, the collective security provision of the NATO treaty. “The United States has demonstrated not merely with words, but with its actions, that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment,” Trump said.
Trump had notably left out a mention of Article 5 during a speech in late May at NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels. Every U.S. president since Harry Truman in 1949 has pledged to honor the policy that an attack on an alliance nation is an attack on all of them.

41. They just want to kill us all.

42. Headlines.

As the president who hired him reveals himself as an incompetent, it is no surprise to learn that Sessions was Steve Bannon’s first choice, long before Donald J. Trump was a gleam in the alt-right’s eye. The attorney general is the true white nationalist messiah and the wheelhouse of the Trump Revolution.

43. Can’t do what the black man* did.

* You know what they really said.

44. Uhm, what? Really, what?

No, pretty sure most of them are like who the fuck is Podesta? That, or they are staying well away from you when you mutter and windmill your arms.

You’d think he’d at least need to limber up so he could grab his ankles safely.

45. I do have to hand it to HuffPost:

46. Geez, that’s quite a bit of blowback.

47. One of the interesting things about twitter is the immediate access to individuals like this. (And read his thread.)

48. Yep. Clinton said it everyone said it and there it is.

https://twitter.com/Khanoisseur/status/883398571298406400

49. I don’t want these big name mergers, I’m really leery of all the news glomping into one big uber company. But this is ridiculous.

White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president’s animus toward CNN remains a wild card. [my emphasis]
This detail is buried 12 paragraphs into a feature on CNN’s combative relationship with Trump. Which is bizarre, given that it’s an open confession of corruption by a senior White House official. It hardly matters whether the administration follows through on its threat: The White House is extorting a news network in the pages of the New York Times. The fact that this didn’t strike the paper as headline material is a testament to how thoroughly Trump has already succeeded in eroding our expectations for good governance.

50 I think she wins the internets.

51. Fucktrump.

Basically, we have just moved from being a clear leader of the largest alliance of nations in the world, to being a tier-2 member of the dictators’ club.
Let nobody say that Trump hasn’t achieved anything. I think he just ended the Cold War — with a surrender.

52. But Donny-boy likes the Ruskies so it’s all okay.

53. I’m right there with ya, Chancellor Merkel…

54. The fuck is this shit? Nobody fucking elected her.

55. And so here we go. I do not in the slightest blame Trudeau for this approach, and I heartily approve of the local governments intent on upholding the work toward mitigating climate change. But it saddens me on another note to see the further decay of the federal government. The long term implications of this for the U.S. itself are troubling.

Trudeau will give the keynote address at the National Governors Association meeting in Providence, Rhode Island next Friday, just over a month before the expected opening of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation talks.

With President Fuckwit? Now there’s a wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

Trudeau’s government described the attempt to build ties with governors as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, its healthy ties with the president’s team.

56. Gah. If there was some way we could collectively tank those stocks and leave those fucking goopers pantsless…

57. Why thank you ever so much Head White Supremacist Dickwad Attorney General of the United States.

Racist asshole.