Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Reading

Noah Rothman on why the desperate party- before- country Republican defense of Putin puppet Donald "Rump" Trump won't wash:
To the extent they are interested in protecting the President from his critics, Republicans have settled on a defense for Donald Trump: He has no idea what he's doing. 
That was, at least, how House Speaker Paul Ryan attempted to save Trump from himself. "The President's new at this. He's new at government," Ryan said. "He's not steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses." [snip]
The sequence of events that Comey recounted in testimony does not paint a portrait of a naive American President, buffeted by events beyond either his control or ability to comprehend. Comey's assertions crafted the image of a President who was eager to see the investigation into his campaign's conduct speedily concluded on favorable terms, and this directive was reinforced through punitive measures. (our emphasis)
Rump's obsession with protecting former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is a tell to Paul Waldman (and us):
It may be that Trump believes Flynn is the keystone of the Russia scandal, and if he goes down then the scandal will accelerate until it reaches the Oval Office. It may have something to do with some piece of information or relationship we know nothing about. But what's obvious is that Trump is trying very hard to keep Flynn out of harm's way, or to keep him happy. If we can figure out why, we may understand this whole scandal a great deal better. 
Our guesses?  Flynn was operating under Rump's direction in his back- door dealings with Russia and, through his contacts with Russian intelligence, has something on Rump that Rump's very eager to keep hidden =cough= make or break financial leverage =cough= money laundering =cough=.

The Center for American Progress tells us the emerging Republican Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate is a killer:
Recent reports indicate that the emerging Senate version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) may not include the House version’s provision permitting states to waive the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) community rating provision, which prevents insurers from charging sick people higher premiums than healthy people. 
Even without community rating waivers, the Senate bill would still critically weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions. By allowing states to waive the ACA’s essential health benefits (EHB) requirements, it would enable insurers to effectively screen out sick people by excluding certain services. 
As a result, people with pre-existing conditions in waiver states would face significantly higher costs and find it much harder to find insurance plans that actually covered treatment for even relatively common conditions such as mental health problems or diabetes. (our emphasis)
Not surprising that this bill is being "crafted" behind closed doors by 13 white male Republican Senators.  It kind of fits a pattern of subterfuge that allowed them to gut internet privacy regulations earlier this year:
Congressional Republicans knew their plan was potentially explosive. They wanted to kill landmark privacy regulations that would soon ban Internet providers, such as Comcast and AT&T, from storing and selling customers’ browsing histories without their express consent. 
So after weeks of closed-door debates on Capitol Hill over who would take up the issue first — the House or the Senate — Republican members settled on a secret strategy, according to Hill staff and lobbyists involved in the battle. While the nation was distracted by the House’s pending vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans would schedule a vote to wipe out the new privacy protections. 
On March 23, the measure passed on a straight party-line vote, 50 to 48. Five days later, a majority of House Republicans voted in favor of it, sending it to the White House, where President Trump signed the bill in early April without ceremony or public comment. (our emphasis)
That moment when you find your browsing history has been used to target you, thank a Republican. These are truly the mole people.

Finally, on a broader scale, Infidel has another great link round- up -- something for (almost?) everyone. It's worth your time.

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