Thursday, May 25, 2017

Republican Politicians Making Huge Profits Off Trumpcare Vote

How the Trump Budget Undermines Economic Security for Working Families
"With an administration chock full of self-serving millionaires and billionaires, it comes as little surprise that President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would be an enormous windfall for the wealthiest Americans. But the degree to which it privileges the 1 percent at the expense of nearly everyone else—breaking Trump’s campaign promises to restore prosperity to everyday Americans—is staggering. Notably, by calling for cuts to Social Security, the budget violates one of Trump’s most significant promises."

Republican Greg Gianforte Body Slams Reporter To The Ground For Asking A Question

How Paul Ryan turns an 800 percent increase in premium costs into good news for Trumpcare: He lies
"When they say "disproportionate" they're talking about an 800 percent increase over what a 64-year-old with an income of $26,500 pays under Obamacare. Her annual premium now would be $1,700. Under Trumpcare? $13,600. Yeah, that's not a lower premium, Mr. Ryan. While he'd like to erase older, poor Americans from the face of the earth, they still exist, and in fact are Republicans' most loyal voters. And they are getting royally screwed."

‘New’ health care bill spells disaster for sick, according to CBO report
"The CBO report on the House Republicans’ health care bill was released on Wednesday. If passed, the American Health Care Act would leave 23 million additional people uninsured and increase costs for the sickest and oldest Americans."

40 Shady Things We Now Know About Trump and Russia | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

GOP lawmaker chokes back tears after finding out the impact of the health care bill he helped write
"Weeks after House Republicans advanced the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally issued its scoring of the bill and found exactly what most experts had already projected: higher costs and less coverage, particularly for those who need health care the most, like those with pre-existing conditions."

Trump promised to protect the sick and the poor. He lied.
"Trump lied in public about the most consequential policy decisions he is now making as president. He lied on the trail, and he is lying again now from the Oval Office."

Senate Intel Briefed On Cyber Firm With Odd Donald Trump-Russia Ties

The Ben Jacobs 'Body Slam' Was Not an Isolated Incident
"Let's for a moment, though, take a look at the original statement put out by the Gianforte campaign regarding the incident, because rarely do you get so pure a specimen of wingnut think. It is an especially piquant example because it was contradicted before its release by the audio recording of the incident itself. Later, a particularly noble accounting by a local Fox TV crew made the Gianforte campaign look even more ridiculous."

Montana's biggest newspapers rescind endorsement of GOP candidate who violently assaulted a reporter
"There is horrifying audio of the attack and three Fox News reporters described seeing Gianforte grab Jacobs by the neck with both hands, body-slamming him to the ground and then punching him in the face."

Trump's Alleged Obstruction Of Justice Keeps Getting Worse

Cable Industry Lobbyists Write Republican Talking Points on Net Neutrality
"The document also refers GOP caucus members to quotes they can use from other industry-funded nonprofits to defend the decision to repeal net neutrality through the rollback of Title II reclassification."

Trump targets USDA with some of the deepest proposed budget cuts
"President Donald Trump ran on a platform of giving a voice to rural voters who felt forgotten by politicians in Washington. But his proposed budget, released on Tuesday, proposes deep cuts to crucial Department of Agriculture programs that many rural residents, and farmers, depend on."

The Trump-DeVos Budget: An All-Out Assault on America's Kids

CBO: Republican plan would take health coverage from 23 million
"This might have been useful information for House members to have before they voted three weeks ago. Indeed, it was difficult not to appreciate the irony this afternoon. Those most invested in the health care debate today did what Republican lawmakers refused to do: learn about the real-world effects of the GOP legislation. Remember, House Speaker Paul Ryan and his GOP allies could’ve waited for the Congressional Budget Office to issue a report on the legislation before they voted on it, but Republicans chose willful ignorance: they didn’t want to know what their bill would cost – and they didn’t want to know how many Americans would lose their health security – because the more facts policymakers had at their disposal, the more likely it would be their bill would fail. And now 217 House Republicans are on the hook, voting for legislation first, then learning they voted to take health security away from 23 million Americans."

This Is Paul Ryan's CBO Face
"the CBO estimates that premiums for the low-income elderly could rise … wait for it … 800 percent."

CBO: Republican Healthcare Plan A Death Sentence

Montana GOP Candidate Charged With Assault After ‘Body-Slamming’ Reporter
"By Thursday morning, three local media outlets had withdrawn their endorsements of Gianforte: the Billings Gazette, the Missoulian and the Helena Independent Record."

Montana's Republican candidate tries to hide from $800,000 tax break he would get from the AHCA
"The mummified corpse of Trump and Ryan care was resurrected in order to create budget space for the enormous tax break Republicans want to give the wealthy. It is as simple as that. They don’t care if people get sick and they don’t care what works or doesn’t work. This is a fundamental problem since even the most bigoted Trump supporter really doesn’t want to lose their healthcare coverage."

Bernie Sanders On President Trump's Budget Plan: 'Grotesquely Immoral'

Fox News Reporter Tells Horrific Story Of Gianforte's Attack On Guardian Reporter | Crooks and Liars

Fox News Reporter Tells Horrific Story Of Gianforte's Attack On Guardian Reporter | Crooks and Liars

"This account ties with the audio recording perfectly, unlike the "statement" Gianforte's spokesman released earlier. The Fox News reporters went on to note that they never saw Jacobs behave in an aggressive or threatening manner at all, further contradicting Gianforte's claims."

Fox News reporters say GOP candidate grabbed reporter by the neck, slammed him to the ground
"There is NO question, based on the eyewitness accounts and the horrifying audio, Greg Gianforte committed a violent assault on Ben Jacobs, a member of the free press. He does not belong in the United States Congress. He belongs in jail."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

John Brennan Saw Pattern Of Russian Op In Trump Campaign Interactions

‘The People’s Budget’: Analysis of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget for fiscal year 2018

‘The People’s Budget’: Analysis of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget for fiscal year 2018:

"It builds on recent CPC budget alternatives in setting the following priorities: near-term job creation, financing public investments, strengthening low- and middle-income families’ economic security, raising adequate revenue to meet budgetary needs while restoring fairness to the tax code, strengthening social insurance programs, and ensuring long-run fiscal sustainability."

Trump’s plan to eliminate EPA regional programs puts public health ‘in jeopardy’
"The Trump administration wants to cut all funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional environmental programs, initiatives that have helped address major pollution problems from the Great Lakes region to the Gulf of Mexico. Public health and environmental advocates contend that President Donald Trump’s plans to eliminate these programs as part of his fiscal year 2018 budget, released Tuesday, will harm public health and destroy ecosystems across the United States. The regional programs cover the Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Lake Champlain, Long Island, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, South Florida, San Francisco Bay, and Puget Sound."

Koch Brothers Confirm: It's All About Billionaire Tax Cuts | Crooks and Liars

Koch Brothers Confirm: It's All About Billionaire Tax Cuts | Crooks and Liars

"What does the Republican Party stand for? Deregulation of polluters and tax cuts for billionaires. And that's it. So now that Trump is in serious trouble and there's a special counsel to prove it, who comes to the rescue of the Republican Agenda but the Koch Brothers? The video above shows Elizabeth MacDonald telling her fellow Outnumbered hosts that the Koch brothers are going to dump $400 million into an ad campaign pushing for tax "reform." "Reform" is Republican for Tax Cuts for Billionaires. USA Today: In a major jolt of support for President Trump, the powerful political network overseen by conservative billionaire Charles Koch is launching a multimillion-dollar campaign to drive Trump's tax plan through Congress. The group plans to throw "the full weight of the network" behind the campaign with the goal of passing a tax overhaul this year, said James Davis, a top official in Koch's Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. Davis would not disclose a specific dollar amount but said the effort would include advertising and mobilizing grassroots activists. Although Koch opposes Trump's travel bans and questions the president's skepticism of free-trade policies, the head of one the country's largest industrial conglomerates has praised Trump for several actions since taking office, including his move to dismantle "unnecessary" federal regulations. Tax cuts for billionaires and deregulation and screw, utterly screw, anyone who needs health insurance, education, or any other service funded by the federal government."

Senator Warren Questions Sec. Mnuchin about Reversing Stance on Glass-Steagall

Watch Elizabeth Warren Pound Steve Mnuchin Like Butter | Crooks and Liars

Watch Elizabeth Warren Pound Steve Mnuchin Like Butter | Crooks and Liars

"We really need to point out at the beginning that Steve Mnuchin is a lying piece of billionaire trash who would cut off his own mother's nursing home bills if it would earn him a tax cut. He's already arguing for "quantitative easing," i.e. voodoo economics, to generate the talking point that massive tax cuts for the rich "pay for themselves." Yeah, he's that kind of liar. So when he goes up against Senator Elizabeth Warren to tell her yes, sure, he wants a "Glass-Stegall for the 21st Century" only it shouldn't do one damn thing that the original Glass-Stegall did, i.e. separate mortgage banking from Wall Street banking, Elizabeth Warren takes out her rolling pin and softens up that butter like a pro"

Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America
"In May 2016, a Russian military intelligence officer bragged to a colleague that his organization, known as the GRU, was getting ready to pay Clinton back for what President Vladimir Putin believed was an influence operation she had run against him five years earlier as Secretary of State. The GRU, he said, was going to cause chaos in the upcoming U.S. election. What the officer didn't know, senior intelligence officials tell TIME, was that U.S. spies were listening. They wrote up the conversation and sent it back to analysts at headquarters, who turned it from raw intelligence into an official report and circulated it. But if the officer's boast seems like a red flag now, at the time U.S. officials didn't know what to make of it. "We didn't really understand the context of it until much later," says the senior intelligence official. Investigators now realize that the officer's boast was the first indication U.S. spies had from their sources that Russia wasn't just hacking email accounts to collect intelligence but was also considering interfering in the vote. Like much of America, many in the U.S. government hadn't imagined the kind of influence operation that Russia was preparing to unleash on the 2016 election. Fewer still realized it had been five years in the making."

Senator Warren on Donald Trump's Proposed Cuts to Social Security

Trump’s foreign hosts make unusual preparations for his visit
"A related report from the Associated Press noted, “At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids.” The piece added that Trump’s aides have been careful to “build daily downtime” into his schedule. This comes on the heels of a report from Foreign Policy magazine on our NATO allies “scrambling” to tailor their upcoming meeting “to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span.” A source briefed extensively on the meeting’s preparations explained, “It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump. It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child – someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing…. They’re freaking out.” In his interview with Time magazine last week, Trump said, “I think we have to be a strong nation. I think we were being laughed at by the world. They’re not laughing anymore.” Oh how I wish that were true."

White House Tells World Leaders That They Must Tell Trump He’s Doing Better Than Obama
"Donald Trump’s trip isn’t an international visit overseas by a president. It is a global babysitting operation to give American a break for its perpetually needy, corrupt, and scandal-plagued toddler. The White House’s “rules” for meeting Trump aren’t diplomatic guidelines for international diplomacy. They are a list you leave on the fridge for the babysitter before you both head out to catch a movie."

President Trump's Budget Slashes Billions From Medicaid, Social Security

Paul Ryan spooked by leaked audio on Trump’s ties to Putin — and fears more to follow

Paul Ryan spooked by leaked audio on Trump’s ties to Putin — and fears more to follow

"House Speaker Paul Ryan seems spooked by a recording that reveals he asked Republican lawmakers not to discuss concerns that then-candidate Donald Trump might have been paid off by Vladimir Putin. A Washington Post report transcribed the recording of a June 15 meeting at the Capitol, where Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House Majority Leader, raised concerns that Trump and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) might have accepted payment from the Russian president. Ryan, who had finally endorsed Trump 13 days earlier, can be heard on the recording asking Republicans who were present not to “leak” details of the conversation. Now that the tape has been made public — although its origins are unclear — Ryan is worried others might surface."

Corporate power in state legislatures produces a gerrymandered Congress

Corporate power in state legislatures produces a gerrymandered Congress

"The power of corporate money helps explain why so many “purple” states whose population is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and that are therefore tossups in presidential elections— including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida— nevertheless are governed by radical right-wing legislatures. Once winning power, the corporate lobbies have pursued a radical agenda of defunding public services, destroying both public and private sector unions, cutting minimum wage, and making it harder to sue over race or sex discrimination. And they’ve used their power in state legislatures to restrict local democracy, prohibiting cities’ right to establish their own minimum wage, right to sick leave, or mechanism for recovering wages stolen by one’s employer. But the corporate investment in politics has paid dividends at the federal level as well as in the states. A recent study from the Brennan Center for Justice reports that when state legislators redrew the lines for Congressional Districts, they engaged in such severe gerrymandering that the GOP now holds 17 seats that would have been won by Democrats if the district boundaries were fairly drawn.[1] In the current Congress, Democrats would need to win a total of twenty-four Republican-held seats in order to regain the majority. But most of this gap is the product of gerrymandering; if the districts were impartial, Democrats would be only seven seats away from a majority. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the gerrymandered seats in Congress come from states targeted by Project RedMap. The three most intensely gerrymandered states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, which together gave the GOP 7 extra seats in Congress—were all prime targets of corporate funders. Next time you wonder why the Congress is voting to take away people’s health insurance in order to fund tax cuts for the rich, here’s a big part of the answer."

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump's Budget Takes a Sledgehammer to What Remains of the American Dream

Trump's New Bank Regulator: Lawyer Who Helped Banks Charge More Fees
"Noreika, a prominent Washington attorney who specializes in financial regulatory law, has made a career out of representing banks as they sought to fight back consumer-friendly state regulations and class-action lawsuits accusing banks of deceptive practices."

Financial Times declares a winner in the war for energy’s future, and Big Oil won’t be happy
"The business community, though, is starting to see the writing on the wall, especially in Europe. The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest company, declared in a recent speech that the transition to a low-carbon economy is not just “unstoppable.” It is a necessity that “must be embraced” if an oil company like Shell is to survive and thrive. The low-carbon future, he explained, will be built around renewable electricity and electric cars."

Rick Perry's Early Days as Energy Secretary Have Been a Bonanza for Corporations and the Koch Brothers @alternet

Rick Perry's Early Days as Energy Secretary Have Been a Bonanza for Corporations and the Koch Brothers @alternet:

"At least three staffers from conservative, anti-clean energy think tanks now have roles in the Energy Department. This comes after Thomas Pyle, a former Koch Industries lobbyist, ran Trump’s transition team for the department. Pyle is president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), a think tank co-founded and partially funded by fossil fuel industrialist Charles Koch, as well as its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance. A leaked Pyle memo obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy from December revealed Trump’s energy plan, a “fossil fuel industry wish list.” Travis Fisher, an economist and current Energy staffer, most recently worked for IER, where he wrote columns opposing renewable energy and defending fossil fuels. Big funders of IER have included ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, several Koch-backed nonprofits and two Koch family foundations. Fisher was once an intern at the John Locke Foundation, one of several North Carolina-based think tanks founded and funded by close Koch ally Art Pope. On April 14, Perry issued a memo requesting a study, to be overseen by Fisher, on whether clean energy programs are hindering coal and nuclear programs. The study has caught fire from the left, with a group of Democratic senators writing to Perry with serious concerns, calling it “a thinly disguised attempt to promote less economic electric generation technologies, such as coal and nuclear, at the expense of cost-competitive wind and solar power"."

Not Just Trump – House And Senate Republicans Launch Massive Barrage On Science

Elizabeth Warren Just Offered Terrifying Proof Republicans Have Given Up on Democracy @alternet

Elizabeth Warren Just Offered Terrifying Proof Republicans Have Given Up on Democracy @alternet:

"Senate Republicans have been dubiously dissecting the House health care bill since it passed 217 to 213 on May 4. But don't count on them seeking any aid from across the aisle.  According to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), "The Republicans have literally locked the Democrats out of the negotiations over the Senate health care bill. They have gone into closed rooms and they will not let the Democrats participate at all."  A week and a half later, "what the Republicans are planning to do with the House version of the bill remains a mystery [even] to those of us who serve on the committees to consider health care in America and those of us who are deeply concerned about the impact of health care changes on our home states," she told MassLive on Monday.  Warren, having called the first iteration of the house bill "fundamentally cruel," also touched on Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA)'s March assessment of its explosive costs—an estimated $1 billion loss in federal health care aid for Massachusetts by 2020."

National security officials try to accommodate Trump’s attributes
"The week of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, Donald Trump conceded he likes to have short intelligence briefings, with information on national security limited to one page. “I like bullets or I like as little as possible,” he said. Soon after, National Security Council officials said that while Barack Obama liked policy papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, Trump prefers one page, “with lots of graphics and maps.” As Trump prepares for his first overseas trip as president, Reuters reports today on the efforts to prepare a president with Trump’s unique attributes. Conversations with some officials who have briefed Trump and others who are aware of how he absorbs information portray a president with a short attention span. He likes single-page memos and visual aids like maps, charts, graphs and photos. National Security Council officials have strategically included Trump’s name in “as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned,” according to one source, who relayed conversations he had with NSC officials. I mean, really. What are we even supposed to say at this point? Nearly four months into this presidency, National Security Council officials have apparently learned that Trump is likely to stop reading important materials unless he sees his name, so they write “Trump” more than they’d like to in the hopes of keeping the president’s attention."

Jeff Sessions’ War On Drugs Is A Huge Win For Private Prisons

Trump wants to gut energy program with highest job potential and rate of return
"The Trump administration wants to slash the Department of Energy’s (DOE) investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy by 70 percent, according to a draft obtained by Axios. Even setting aside the issues of air pollution and climate change, gutting renewable energy and efficiency runs counter to the president’s stated commitment to economic growth and job creation. Clean energy is the world’s biggest new source of sustainable high-wage employment. That’s why China’s has budgeted a $360 billion investment in renewable generation alone by 2020. Beijing calculates the resulting “employment will be more than 13 million people.” Even in this country, clean energy jobs already outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1."

Bank previously run by Trump’s treasury secretary pays big fine for defrauding the government
"The reverse mortgage subsidiary of OneWest, the bank founded and formerly run by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that was later bought by CIT Group, agreed to an $89 million settlement with the United States on Tuesday over claims that it defrauded a government program out of money it didn’t qualify for."

Congressman Shows Townhall He Doesn't Know How Insurance Works

Trump transition handling of classified info raised concern
"In the weeks before Trump took office, Obama administration officials were so concerned by the Trump transition team’s handling of classified documents that they moved swiftly to exert more control over the sensitive materials, according to two former U.S. officials. The officials said transition officials removed classified materials from secure rooms and carried them between buildings in Washington without permission. Worried about keeping tabs on the highly sensitive material, the Obama administration officials set new limits on some classified information and explicitly barred Trump aides from viewing that material in their transition offices. The Associated Press previously reported on Obama officials’ concerns about the transition team’s handling of classified material as the Trump team prepared to take the reins of government. The new details about their concerns come amid mounting questions about whether Trump himself has been careless with the nation’s secrets."

New Hampshire Republican Who Founded Woman-Hating Site Makes Outrageous Statements Validating Rape @alternet

New Hampshire Republican Who Founded Woman-Hating Site Makes Outrageous Statements Validating Rape @alternet:

"Robert Fisher is the founder of the Red Pill, an online subreddit for men who are sick of women complaining about rape, harassment and sexism. As a vocal participant in the group, he’s written at length about how feminism makes life hard for nice guys like him who see women as sex objects and make rape jokes."

Trump's New Bank Regulator: Lawyer Who Helped Banks Charge More Fees
"In the early 2000s, banks successfully sued to stop Iowa from limiting their ability to charge ATM fees to non-customers. They also fought off states’ attempts to stop them from charging non-customers to cash checks drawn on the banks’ accounts. In another case, they stopped California from forcing two banks to conduct audits of their own residential mortgages. What do all these cases have in common? The winning argument in each was that states had no right to impose their laws on federally regulated national banks. And the man who helped make that powerful argument was Keith Noreika — President Trump’s pick to head the federal agency that oversees national banks."

Trump's EPA Replaces Scientists With Stooges

Trump Family and Friends: In Your Pockets
"it is not just the Trump family that is profiting off his administration, the investor Carl Ichan, who serves as all purpose "unpaid" adviser looks to earn a substantial profit off of his advice. Ichan engaged in discussions on altering federal regulations that require refineries to use a certain amount of ethanol in gasoline and other refined products. Following these discussions, Trump reversed a position he had taken in his campaign. Ichan stands to make more than $100 million from this reversal. Unfortunately, letting the affected industry control the regulatory process seems to be pretty much the norm in the Trump administration. His top financial regulators are virtually all from Wall Street, with Goldman Sachs being the leading source of Trump team talent. Trump's pick to head the Federal Communications Commission is a former lawyer for Verizon whose first target in his new position is to end the policy of net neutrality, which ensured everyone equal access to the web. Scott Gottlieb, Trump's pick to head the Food and Drug Administration, was a board member of a pharmaceutical company and has received hundreds of thousands of dollars for fees as a consultant to the industry. In short, the outlook for most of the country may not look great in the Trump years, but Trump's family friends should do very well."

Policy Watch: Congress blocks 14 Obama-era rules in an unprecedented blitz of CRA votes

Policy Watch: Congress blocks 14 Obama-era rules in an unprecedented blitz of CRA votes

"The blocked Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule required companies applying for federal contracts to disclose violations of federal labor laws and executive orders addressing wage and hour, safety and health, collective bargaining, family medical leave, and civil rights protections. Currently, there is no effective system for distinguishing between law-abiding contractors and those that violate labor and employment laws. By blocking this rule, Republicans have ensured that businesses that violate basic labor and employment laws will continue to be rewarded with taxpayer dollars. The blocked Workplace Injury and Illness recordkeeping rule clarified an employer’s obligation to maintain accurate records of workplace injuries and illnesses. This information is critical in targeting injury prevention efforts and assessing their effectiveness. By blocking the rule, Republicans have made it impossible for OSHA, which is tasked with ensuring workers’ safety on the job, to require that employers keep accurate records that could be used to identify unsafe, potentially life-threatening working conditions. As a result, workers will go to work every day in less safe conditions. Two blocked rules would have assisted state and local governments that develop individual retirement account (IRA) programs for private-sector workers. The rule simply clarified that these arrangements are not covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the federal law governing private-sector employer-sponsored plans. By blocking the rule, Republicans have blocked a path for retirement savings for the roughly 55 million private-sector wage and salary workers who do not have access to a retirement savings plan through their employers."

NATO Tries To Dumb-Down Upcoming Meeting To Better Suit Donald Trump

Trump Is Disregarding Senate Norms to Get His Judges on the Bench
"Less than 24 hours before he fired FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump nominated 10 lawyers for lifetime positions as federal judges. Trump has repeatedly lashed out at judges who rule against him. It is no surprise, then, that he is rushing to appoint judges who are more likely to rubber-stamp his unconstitutional agenda. To vet and pick these nominees, President Trump relied on the same right-wing groups that compiled his list of potential Supreme Court nominees—the Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation—organizations that want to push a conservative agenda through the courts. Trump ignored the traditional vetting role of the American Bar Association, bypassed state judicial nominating commissions, and failed to consult with home-state senators. For 100 years, Senate tradition has required senators to approve judicial nominees who would sit on the federal courts in their states. As part of that process, senators sign a blue slip of paper to signal their approval. The blue slip requires presidents to work with senators from both parties to fill empty judgeships. The blue slip process promotes a qualified and moderate judiciary. It is possible for senators to abuse the practice, as Senate Republicans did during the Obama administration, but the practice has survived since 1917 for a reason. Senators are in the best position to ensure that judicial nominees are well-respected in their local legal communities. In many states, senators establish commissions to vet and recommend the most qualified candidates. Given this local knowledge and the blue slip, the president traditionally consults with senators before nominating judges."

NATO Frantically Tries to Trump-Proof President’s First Visit
"NATO is scrambling to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span."

North Carolina Senate GOP targets children who live in Democratic districts
"At 3:07 a.m. on Friday morning, North Carolina Senate GOP leaders rushed through a budget amendment that stripped education funding for teaching assistants and STEM programs in districts led by Democrats, cut funding to provide fresh produce to food deserts, reallocated money that was supposed to go to an arts museum and a downtown revitalization project, and eliminated a position that works to secure federal aid for disaster relief. It appears the amendment wasn’t passed to achieve specific policy goals though, but rather as an act of political retribution after a prolonged and contentious budget negotiation in the state’s senate."

Science Is No Longer Welcome At The EPA

Paul Ryan’s next move is an attempt to privatize Medicare
"Giddy from his recent health care win, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he looks forward to tackling an overhaul of Medicare, which would leave many seniors without coverage or with higher premiums. On Friday, Speaker Ryan told the conservative radio host, Vicki McKenna, that he would like to see a plan for overhauling Medicare this year. He said the plan is part of an “ongoing conversation” with the Trump administration."

Ryan sticking with Trump so he can get his Medicare privatization
"But what about Trump's forceful promises throughout the campaign that he would not touch these programs? Ryan's got a powerful weapon on his side in Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, former Freedom Caucus maniac, who seems pretty confident. When it comes to wrecking Medicare, "let the [House] pass that and let's talk about it," he says. Of course, there's the little problem of getting it through the Senate, but that's not going to keep Ryan from trying. It rarely has before. He's bound and determined to throw granny off that damned cliff."

Caught in the Trump trap: Republicans made a deal with the devil, and now they’re stuck with him
"Preserving political power is the only thing that matters now, consequences be damned. Which is why the GOP can’t quit Trump — at least not yet. Republicans will only change once it becomes clear that doing so is a matter of survival for them."

How Right-Wing Propaganda Giant Is Taking Over TV

Here’s how an N.J. congressman responded after a constituent pressured him to hold a town hall
"It seems as if Frelinghuysen would much rather meet with defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, who tops his donor list, than New Jersey voters. The congressman hasn’t met with his constituents via town hall in four years, and instead substituted the meetings with two telephone town halls. Frelinghuysen has also complained about the amount of phone calls his office has received recently, according to WNYC."

“Fake but accurate” is the Trump administration’s new defense of its lies
"It’s a phrase that should send chills down the spine of anyone who worries about Trump’s decision-making. “Fake but accurate” has an Orwellian ring that reminds us, yet again, of Trump’s unpredictability — and his willingness to make consequential decisions impulsively and without considering whether he’s basing them on facts or lies."

Donald Trump still believes fake news because he is surrounded by morons
"Politico has a story up about how part-time White House resident Donald Trump keeps getting fake news delivered to him despite having, at least in theory, access to the most elaborate intelligence-gathering mechanisms the world has to offer. The anecdote it leads with, though, pretty much sums it up. Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter. Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it. All right, full stop—the deputy national security adviser, in an effort to bend Trump's brain to her own agenda, delivered to his desk a well-known internet hoax. The deputy national security adviser did this. During the course of her regular duties advising him about national security, for which purpose she has been given access to whichever intelligence resources are necessary, which she can request at will ... or she can just forward on stuff she sees on Breitbart, it's all good. By golly, I'd say we've stumbled on the problem right there. Part-time White House resident Donald Trump keeps getting fake news delivered to him because he is surrounded by ex-Fox News morons."

Artist Trolls Trump's Hotel

Donald Trump’s aides are resorting to fake news so that he hears what he wants to hear
"President Donald Trump’s TV watching habits have already become legendary. Now a new report indicates that the president also has a habit of being influenced by whatever recent news is placed before him — a characteristic that has serious implications for how he runs the country. Deputy national security adviser K. T. McFarland found herself in hot water when she got Trump convinced that the media had hypocritically flip-flopped from warning about an impending ice age to promoting the notion of global warming — even though her argument was based on a forged Time Magazine cover, according to a report by Politico. Although White House staff were able to intervene before Trump publicly discussed the hoax as if it was real, the fact that it was so easy to misguide him underscored a deeper problem with the president’s mind. In February the president was reported to have started asking his staffers about deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh after reading an article from that accused her of being “the source behind a bunch of leaks” (Walsh now works as an adviser to a pro-Trump group). On another occasion, he was able to squelch Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s attempt to appoint a deputy of his own choosing (Elliott Abrams) because someone showed the president material in which Abrams had been critical of Trump. The Politico story emphasized that “there is universal agreement” that “the best way to focus the president’s attention on any story is to tell him about it personally, even if it is in one of the papers he’s already thumbed through.” Despite the risk that doing so may cause the president to metaphorically shoot the messenger bringing unwelcome news, it can also allow the person presenting that story to have a profound impact on the country. One of the most notable examples was when an unknown source showed Trump a New York Times op-ed written by economists Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore. Trump subsequently proposed a tax plan similar to what they had advocated."

Trump Says He Invented an Economy Theory That Was Actually in Use Before He Was Born @alternet

Trump Says He Invented an Economy Theory That Was Actually in Use Before He Was Born @alternet: "Seriously, take that in for a second. Not only did don’t Trump not invent a phrase in wide circulation in economics circles, he tried to use it on a wonk who works for the Economist. The giveaway it wouldn’t work is only right there in the name of the magazine."