PUT UP A FIGHT! MAKE ’EM PAY!

Editorial: We Have Never Before Started The Chaos Report With An Editorial

But after talking about this a little in yesterday’s report, it kept nagging at us. That is, in the final analysis, all Flake, Corker, et al. may be accomplishing is enabling Steve Bannon, and saving Robert Mercer money.

If other incumbent Republicans, especially ones who are not planning to quit, are inspired to join the mellifluous anti-Trump chorus, then that’s great. It’ll all be worth it.

Lame ducks Jeff Flake (R) Arizona & Bob Corker (R) Tennessee

If however, they silently slink off, and Corker and Flake fail to attract a single other brother or sister in arms, their actions will only be serving to cultivate fringe candidates — AND solidify Trump’s power! The exact opposite of what they say they want.

Jeff Greenfield, writing in Politico suggests before long, this week’s harsh outbursts will likely come to be seen as nothing more than the “harmless words of fallen foes”. And as Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker reminds us, Trump is still way more popular among Republicans than, well, Republicans.

OK, we get it: The two Senators are sure losers anyway, so what’s the point?

The point is SO WHAT?!

We realize fighting an almost sure-to-lose battle is demoralizing and no fun, but it also takes a toll on the other side both in terms of exertion and money. So far, Corker and Flake’s rambunctious departures have cost Steve Bannon and his money guy Robert Mercer exactly nothing. Leaving them with more strength and money to do battle with Democrats in the general election.

Not that Mercer is in danger of running out of funds: according to Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, he disclosed donations of $22.5-million during the 2016 election, not to mention tens of millions in direct investments in Breitbart and the notorious targeted data operation Cambridge Analytica. Still, money is money and even if it seems like a drop in the bucket to him it still counts.

Steve Bannon (L) Robert & his daughter Rebekah Mercer (R)

No wonder Breitbart and Bannon are as ebullient as pigs in sh*t: following their “Establishment Republicans Fall Like Dominoes” headline with “Mitch’s Full Meltdown” and “Paul Ryan Sabotaging MAGA”. Suddenly nothing’s out of reach

We will keep pointing out that Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski lost to a Tea Party candidate in a primary, yet improbably won back her seat anyway as a write-in. Never would’ve happened if she’d called it quits!

The New York Times defines the choice confronting Anti-Trump politicians as “Give in, or give up”. We think there’s another option. So again we say: PUT UP A FIGHT! MAKE ’EM PAY!

Since everybody’s quoting everybody these days, we thought we’d end quoting T.S. Eliot:

“This is the way the world ends
 This is the way the world ends
 This is the way the world ends
 Not with a bang but with a whimper”.

Let’s not allow that prophecy come to fruition again in new and terrifying ways.

Health Care Sneak Peak

As of today, if you live in a state that relies on the federal government to administer Obamacare (vs. your individual state) you can now log on to see what your premiums will be next year. You won’t be able to actually sign up until the 1st of next month.

The early release of this info coming as a surprise to many public health officials, especially in light of the Trump Administration’s tireless efforts to cut back on access to the Obamacare marketplace in other ways.

The main reveal? Due to Trump’s ending cost sharing payments to help poor people pay for out of pocket expenses, premiums for the popular “Silver” level of coverage are skyrocketing. In many cases, “Gold” plans, with better coverage, are now cheaper. Why is that significant? Because no one is going to pay for a “Silver” plan if a “Gold” plan with better benefits is available for a lower price.

Meaning the only people buying “Silver” plans will be people who get their premiums fully paid by federal subsidies. Meaning taxpayers are going to have to foot the whole bill for the rate increases. Meaning not paying cost sharing subsidies is costing the government more than paying them. Meaning really, actually, health care does not work the way Trump says it does. Meaning Congress better get together on a stabilization plan pronto.

Especially since a federal judge (Obama appointee) in San Francisco ruled against 18 state Attorneys General who attempted to block Trump’s move and revive the cost sharing subsidies immediately.

Update: Abortion

Although it has little chance right now of actually passing, some of our tax dollars will go next week toward a hearing on a bill that would ban abortion at 6 weeks. Iowa Representative Steve King introduced the measure. A similar so-called “heartbeat bill” passed at the state level in Ohio, but was vetoed by that state’s Governor John Kasich.

But anyway, if you look up the House Judiciary Committee, it’s on the schedule.

Update: Guns

Roll Call reports efforts to regulate devices that effectively turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns have screeched to a halt. Less than a month ago, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. About a dozen of the devices were found in his hotel room. At that time, the outcry for increased regulation was loud. (Even the NRA suggested some limited measures might be OK).

But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says it does not have the legal authority to add those restrictions. Senator Diane Feinstein has legislation ready to go that would, but she’s been unable to find a single Republican co-sponsor.

Democratic And Republican Senators Investigating Russia Fork Off

Feinstein’s also readying a bill that would make it illegal for Americans to accept help from foreign nationals in order to influence an election. (Think Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer.) But the Republican Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, won’t join her for that, because he’s busy pursuing connections between Hillary Clinton and the sale of uranium to Russian buyers.

That split may mark the end of the Committee’s Bipartisan efforts to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

Perhaps leaving Special Counsel Robert Mueller as the only real hope of getting to the bottom of anything. But he always was, anyway

Trump’s Telling Response On Fed Chief Janet Yellen

In the middle of a wide-ranging interview with long-time financial and political anchor Lou Dobbs, Trump disarmingly asks who his interviewer’s pick would be for next Chairperson of the Federal Reserve. After momentarily declining to answer, the Fox Business anchor responds “Janet Yellen”. Trump picks up on that immediately, saying he loves the current Fed Chair, but she’s got “a little bit against her”.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

And this is where it gets interesting: Trump says he’d like to “make his own mark” on the nation’s Central Bank, and so keeping her would rob him of that satisfaction. Even for a position that would absolutely benefit from continuity, especially in capable and tested hands.

You can watch the segment here:

Trump Says “Trust Me” On 401(k) Retirement Contributions

Just the other day Trump Tweeted:

So imagine everyone’s surprise (not) when Congress continued talking about very dramatically slashing maximum allowable 401(k) contributions.

Trump then clarified: saying “maybe we’ll use it as negotiating”. Problem is, if you’re saying it’s all just a bargaining ploy, then it immediately stops being an effective bargaining ploy.

And Finally — Don’t Forget! — Trump’s Releasing The JFK Files Today

Anybody (at least anybody with some patience) should be able to download all 3,810 of them (including the 441 that until now had been withheld in full) from the National Archives website.

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