AMERICAblog NewsAMERICAblog News http://americablog.com A great nation deserves the truth // One of America's top progressive sites for news and opinion Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:35:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Who is Anthony Scaramucci, Donald Trump’s new White House communications director? http://americablog.com/2017/07/anthony-scaramucci-donald-trumps-new-white-house-communications-director.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/anthony-scaramucci-donald-trumps-new-white-house-communications-director.html#comments Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:35:33 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143460 Who is Anthony Scaramucci, Donald Trump’s new White House communications director?

In my video, below, I look at Scaramucci’s politics (far left), Washington experience (none), and style (smooth and smarmy), and conclude that while Scaramucci is better on camera than Sean Spicer, he may not fare any better at the job.

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Scaramucci has legal concerns about Don Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians http://americablog.com/2017/07/scaramucci-legal-concerns-don-trump-jr-s-meeting-russians.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/scaramucci-legal-concerns-don-trump-jr-s-meeting-russians.html#comments Sun, 23 Jul 2017 16:28:41 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143454 New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci let out a bit of a bombshell this morning on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.

Tapper was asking Scaramucci about Donald Trump Jr. being offered, and accepting, a meeting with who he believed were Russian government officials interested in helping Trump win the election. Scaramucci told Tapper that “a lot of people” would have accepted that meeting, which isn’t true.

Tapper then asked Scaramucci if he would have taken that meeting.

It appears Scaramucci isn’t a lot of people, because he told Tapper he’d have to think about it.

TAPPER: Would you have taken that meeting?

SCARAMUCCI: Would I have taken that meeting? I’m not sure. How’s that? I’m gonna answer it honestly and tell you that I’m not sure.

And then it got worse.

The reason Scaramucci wasn’t sure he’d have taken the meeting, he told Tapper, is because he’s a lawyer.

SCARAMUCCI: Since I went to Harvard Law School, I probably would have asked a few people. And somebody probably would have said to me, you know, get a cut-out to go take the meeting and go see if there’s any legitimacy to it.

That suggests that Scaramucci thinks there may be a legal problem with attending the meeting, not just a PR problem. Which contradicts Team Trump’s assertion that Junior did nothing legally wrong. Scaramucci, as a lawyer, isn’t sure attending the meeting was the right move. If he thought this was a politically bad move, or a bad public relations move, he wouldn’t have invoked being a lawyer. You invoke your JD when you have legal concerns.

Scaramucci is smooth; very smooth in fact. But he doesn’t know politics, and most certainly doesn’t know Washington. He knows how to give a polished Fox-Newsy answer to mollify the masses. But he’s no longer being judged by the soccer grandmas, he’s being judge by Donald Trump, the Congress, the American people, and the special counsel. His message needs to be a lot tighter than suggesting that Donald Trump Jr., might have done something that ran afoul with the law.

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Jill Stein goes on pro-Russia rant, calls election interference “conspiracy theory” http://americablog.com/2017/07/jill-stein-goes-pro-russia-rant-calls-election-interference-conspiracy-theory.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/jill-stein-goes-pro-russia-rant-calls-election-interference-conspiracy-theory.html#comments Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:01:04 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143443 Green party leader Jill Stein, who received 1% of the vote in the 2016 election, published a tirade of tweets last night calling Russia’s interference in our election a “conspiracy theory.”

Stein is no stranger to saying things that would put a smile on Vladimir Putin’s face. In December 2015, Stein went to Moscow, had dinner with Vladimir Putin, then publicly criticized US human rights policy, while not saying a word about Russia’s horrific abuses. That earned Stein a stern rebuke from the Russian Green Party.

When I wrote about Stein’s apparent hypocrisy in failing to even mention Moscow’s treatment of journalists (Putin has them killed), LGBT people (Putin has used neo-Nazi groups to kidnap and torture them), and human rights activists, Russian state media rushed to Stein’s defense.

And now, Stein is publicly claiming that Russia’s interference in our election, an established fact, is a “conspiracy theory.”

There is zero evidence to suggest that Hillary created the Russia story. In fact, it was US intelligence, and the intelligence agencies of US allies, who first got wind of Russia playing games back in 2015. From Bill Moyers’ timeline of the Russia hack:

September 2015: An FBI special agent contacts the Democratic National Committee to report that at least one DNC computer system had been hacked by an espionage team linked to the Russian government. The agent is transferred to a tech-support contractor at the help desk, who did a cursory check of DNC server logs and didn’t reply to follow-up calls from the FBI agent.

Late 2015: Britain’s spy agency GCHQ became aware of suspicious “interactions” between members of Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence operatives. Over the next six months, a number of western agencies from Germany, Estonia and Poland share more information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians.

But that didn’t stop Stein from again claiming Russia was innocent:

No, Stein doesn’t hang out with Trumps. She hangs out with Putins.

Photo of Jill Stein at RT anniversary dinner with Putin and Trump adviser Gen. Mike Flynn in Moscow, December 2015.

That’s Putin on the left in the red tie, and that’s Stein on the right in the grey sweater. This is the same dinner (the same table even) that former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn attended. NBC has an even better photo from the event, you can see it here.

I will never understand why some on the far left have such a soft-spot for Soviet and now Russian dictators.

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Scaramucci wants more gun control, and finds Trump’s climate change position “disheartening” http://americablog.com/2017/07/scaramucci-wants-gun-control-finds-trumps-climate-change-position-disheartening.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/scaramucci-wants-gun-control-finds-trumps-climate-change-position-disheartening.html#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:58:58 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143434 New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is anti-gun and pro-climate-change.

Which is an interesting addition to Donald Trump’s White House, as Trump has said that climate change is a Chinese hoax, and has already sucked up to the National Rifle Association.

First off, on guns, Scaramucci says we need more gun control:

Then on climate change, Scaramucci says it’s “disheartening” that anyone believes it’s a hoax”

That means Scaramucci finds his new boss “disheartening,” because Trump thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax.

This comes on the heels of news that Scaramucci excoriated Trump during the campaign, including criticizing the way he treats women and his background from Queens.

Any bets on how long Scaramucci keeps this job?

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Scaramucci excoriated Trump: “a hack… anti-American… don’t like the way he talks about women” http://americablog.com/2017/07/scaramucci-excoriated-trump-hack-anti-american-dont-like-way-talks-women.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/scaramucci-excoriated-trump-hack-anti-american-dont-like-way-talks-women.html#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:48:51 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143425 By now, you likely know that Donald Trump has announced a new White House communications director, and as a result, Sean Spicer has resigned.

The new Trump White House communications director is Anthony Scaramucci. Interestingly, Scaramucci had some scathing words for Donald Trump not two years ago.

In August 2015, Scaramucci excoriated then-candidate Donald Trump for attacking, what Trump called, “these hedge funds guys.”

Scaramucci, who worked until now on Wall Street, responded by calling Trump “a hack” and a “bully,” then he called Trump’s comments “anti-American,” and added, “I don’t like the way he talks about women.”

And for good measure, Scaramucci said of Trump: “he’s got a big mouth.”

But Scaramucci wasn’t done, saying of Trump: “You’re an inherited-money dude from Queens County, bring it Donald, bring it. You’re an inherited-money dude from Queens County.”

Scaramucci then accused Trump of being “a Democratic plant for Hillary Clinton.”

It’s hard to imagine Trump fully forgiving these comments.

More generally, Scaramucci has no idea what he’s doing. Like Trump, the man knows nothing about politics, and in particular, nothing about Washington. There is nothing in Scaramucci’s background preparing him for the job of White House communications director. Trump picked him because Scaramucci looks the part, and Trump probably saw him on TV. Scaramucci has a lot of TV experience, and Trump is one of those people who equates “being on TV” with “being credible.”

But neither Scaramucci’s pretty-boy TV experience, nor his Wall Street experience, are going to help him sell the White House’s agenda, or keep him out of jail when Trump is finally held accountable by the Special Counsel.

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GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel embraces far right Pizzagate conspiracy theorists http://americablog.com/2017/07/gop-senate-candidate-josh-mandel-embraces-far-right-conspiracy-theorists.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/gop-senate-candidate-josh-mandel-embraces-far-right-conspiracy-theorists.html#comments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:45:17 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143403 Republican US Senate candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio today embraced two men labeled by the Anti-Defamation League as being leaders of a far right movement that traffics in conspiracy theories, such as the infamous “Pizzagate” theory that led to a DC pizza parlor shooting.

Mandel was the Republican challenger to Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in 2012, and is running against Brown again in 2018. He is also currently the state treasurer of Ohio.

Please donate to Josh Mandel’s opponent, Sherrod Brown.

The ADL claims that the men in question belong to the “Alt Lite.”

Goal ThermometerThe Alt Lite, per the ADL, “was created by the alt right to differentiate itself from right-wing activists who refused to publicly embrace white supremacist ideology. Today, the alt lite, sometimes referred to as the New Right, is loosely-connected movement whose adherents generally shun white supremacist thinking, but who are in step with the alt right in their hatred of feminists and immigrants, among others. Many within the alt lite sphere are virulently anti-Muslim; the group abhors everyone on “the left” and traffics in conspiracy theories, including #Pizzagate, which claimed there was evidence of a child slavery ring operating inside a DC pizzeria.”

Josh Mandel, photo by PublicPolicyStudy.

The ADL, whose missions is to expose and fight extremism, listed Posobiec and Cernovich among other Alt Right, and Alt Lite, leaders in a recent publication on their Web site. Cernovich claims that the ADL publication is a “hit list of political opponents” that will “incite terrorism.”

Here’s the ADL on Posobiec:

Jack Posobiec, a conspiracy theorist, author, and vocal supporter of President Trump, organized June’s Rally Against Political Violence, after learning that Richard Spencer would be speaking at the Free Speech Rally. He also helmed the DeploraBall, a 2017 inaugural event that attracted many from the alt right and alt lite spheres. He has enthusiastically promoted a range of lies, including the Pizzagate hoax, and attempted to discredit anti-Trump activists by planting an inflammatory “Rape Melania” sign at a protest event. He was among the protesters who stormed the stage during New York Public Theater’s controversial run of “Julius Caesar,” shouting, “You are all Goebbels! You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels… you are inciting terrorists,” and, “The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!” Posobiec has clashed verbally with white supremacist Richard Spencer, who called Posobiec’s Rally Against Political Violence “pathetic.” Posobiec is the Washington correspondent for right-wing Rebel Media.

And here’s the ADL on Cernovich:

Mike Cernovich is a Southern California-based blogger, YouTube personality, author, filmmaker, conspiracy theorist and radio host who has a predominantly right-wing following on social media. He is an unapologetic misogynist, and has claimed that date rape does not exist except as a liberal fiction. Cernovich describes himself as an “American nationalist,” and currently denies being part of the alt right, though that has not always been the case. He once tweeted: “I went from libertarian to alt right after realizing tolerance only went one way and diversity is a code for white genocide.” More recently, he rejected the term “alt right” because of its associations with white supremacists. Cernovich is known for his promotion of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which propagated outrageous claims about child trafficking and culminated in Edgar Welch firing an AR-15 as he entered D.C.’s Comet Ping Pong pizzeria. He is a contributor to Alex Jones’ Infowars.

Mandel is now defending the men, and attacking the ADL for including them in the list:

is an interesting tack for Mandel to take. Posobiec and Cernovich both promoted the fake “Pizzagate” theory that claimed Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of the basement of a hip Washington, DC pizzeria. As a result of that conpsiracy, a young man shot up a pizzeria in DC while looking to save the children.

Here are a few more of Cernovich’s views that the Republican party’s Josh Mandel is “standing with”:

   

And Posobiec posted a video, he filmed at Auschwitz, in which he accused the ADL of acting like the Nazis.

This is what the Republican party has become. Please join us in standing up against Josh Mandel’s extremism, against the Alt Right, and for progressive Democrats like Sherrod Brown.

Please donate to Josh Mandel’s opponent, Sherrod Brown.

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CBO on GOP Obamacare repeal: 22m uninsured, $13k deductible, premiums soar for older http://americablog.com/2017/07/cbo-gop-obamacare-repeal-22m-uninsured-13k-deductible-premiums-soar-older.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/cbo-gop-obamacare-repeal-22m-uninsured-13k-deductible-premiums-soar-older.html#comments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:09:56 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143392 The Congressional Budget Office released yet another analysis of yet another Republican Obamacare repeal plan, and this time the numbers are still awful.

According to CBO, 22 million fewer Americans will have insurance under the Senate Republican plan (the plan passed by the House GOP will lead to 23 million uninsured), and while premiums will drop over ten years for younger Americans, for older Americans (age 50 and up) they’re likely to soar. And finally, deductibles for the benchmark plan will soar to $13,000!

Most troubling, for me, CBO noted that premiums may soar for older Americans. That’s because under Obamacare, premiums for older Americans can only be three times as much as those charged younger Americans. Under the Republican plan, premiums for people age 50 and up can be five times more than those for younger Americans. That’s a potential 66% increase in premiums right there.

Last night, I reported on the new CBO numbers for the simple repeal plan that the GOP was considering yesterday. Those numbers were god-awful, with 32 million uninsured and premiums doubling.

This latest CBO “score,” as we call it, is for earlier Senate plan they were considering, minus the Cruz Amendment (which would have let insurers have Obamacare-compliant and non-Obamacare compliant plans, thus leading healthy people to buy the cheaper (and much worse) non-Obamacare plans, and making the Obamacare cares that much more expensive for anyone with a pre-existing condition).

Here is what the latest CBO analysis had to say about how badly the GOP bill treats older Americans (those age 50-64 — at 65 you get Medicare):

The effects on premiums would vary in different areas of the country. Also, even though average premiums for benchmark plans would decline, some people enrolled in nongroup insurance would experience substantial increases in the net premiums that they paid for insurance. For example, under this legislation, 64-year-olds could be charged five times as much as 21-year-olds, CBO and JCT expect, compared with three times as much under current law—resulting in higher premiums for most older people….

For older people not eligible for premium tax credits, net premiums (after taking into account the tax savings from paying premiums from a health savings account) could be more than five times larger than those for younger people in many states, rather than only three times larger under current law. Because of such differences, CBO and JCT estimate that, under this legislation, a larger share of enrollees in the nongroup market would be younger people and a smaller share would be older people than would be the case under current law.

CBO also notes that deductibles will soar under the GOP plan:

Under this legislation, for a single policyholder purchasing an illustrative benchmark plan (with an actuarial value of 58 percent) in 2026, the deductible for medical and drug expenses combined would be roughly $13,000, the agencies estimate.

This compares to a $5,000 deductible under a benchmark plan under current law.

A $13,000 annual deductible before your benefits even kick in? Dear lord!

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Trump is fixated on how long French President Macron held his hand http://americablog.com/2017/07/trump-fixated-french-president-held-hand.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/trump-fixated-french-president-held-hand.html#comments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:15:58 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143382 In his now already-infamous interview with the NYT’s Maggie Haberman, Donald Trump went off, a lot, about the fact that French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron held his hand.

Now, I’ve lived in France a lot. And I’ve never had a Frenchman hold my hand. It’s not really done. Not like it is (was?) in Italy, where straight guys in the south will (at least would a few decades back) hold hands platonically. In France? No way.

If Macron did this, it was on purpose.

First, here’s what Trump claimed:

All I can imagine is that Trump is talking about that uncomfortable long handshake they had at the Bastille Day parade. This is the one where Trump pulled so hard, he yanked Macron off his balance:

They held hands a LONG time.

I have to think that Macron did this as a sort of counter to Trump’s notorious man-shaking handshake. Remember that Macron played Trump in May at the NATO summit, by pretending to walk over to shake hands with Trump, and then at the last moment veering over to German leader Angela Merkel instead. If Trump felt that Macron was holding his hand too long, I think Macron did it on purpose.

Speaking of Macrons and hands, Trump also shaked-and-yanked Macron’s wife, Brigitte, on arriving in Paris recently.

Trump-yank-french first-lady-francex

Trump later made a sexist comment about what “good shape” Mrs. Macron was in.

So Mr. Macron had plenty of reason to try to psych out Trump. And it appears he did.

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Did the Japanese Prime Minister’s wife Akie Abe pretend not to speak English to avoid Trump? http://americablog.com/2017/07/japanese-prime-ministers-wife-pretend-not-speak-english-avoid-trump.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/japanese-prime-ministers-wife-pretend-not-speak-english-avoid-trump.html#comments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:44:39 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143365 As part of his long, confused, rambling interview with the NYT’s Maggie Haberman yesterday, Donald Trump talked about how uncomfortable he was sitting next to Akie Abe, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, because she doesn’t speak a word of English. Not even “hello.”

The thing is, she does.

First, here’s Trump to Haberman:

(Of course, Mrs. Abe probably said the same thing about Trump’s notoriously incomprehensible English.)

Now, here’s Abe giving a speech in English a few years back:

Now, she’s clearly reading the speech. But if she didn’t speak a lick of English, this would be nearly impossible to do, and it’s doubtful she’d accept a speaking gig in America at the Ford Foundation in English!

There are two obvious options here: First, Trump is lying. Second, Abe pretended not to speak English so she wouldn’t have to talk to Trump.

Here’s to hoping it’s the latter.

PS Who can forget Trump’s disastrous never-ending handshake with Prime Minister Abe, and the eyeroll Abe gave afterwards:

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CBO: Newest GOP Obamacare repeal bill causes 32m more uninsured, doubles premiums http://americablog.com/2017/07/cbo-newest-gop-obamacare-repeal-bill-causes-32m-uninsured-doubles-premiums.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/cbo-newest-gop-obamacare-repeal-bill-causes-32m-uninsured-doubles-premiums.html#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:05:42 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143362 The House GOP Obamacare repeal plan will cause 23 million more Americans to be uninsured.

The first Senate GOP Obamacare repeal plan would cause 22 million more Americans to be uninsured.

And the newest Senate GOP Obamacare repeal plan, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis just released, would cause a whopping 32 million more Americans to be without insurance.

According to CBO, the number of uninsured would jump 17 million by next year, increase to 27 million in three years, and reach 32 million by 2026.

It’s just as bad news about premiums, which would increase an additional 25% next year, an additional 50% by 2020, and double (more than they would have under Obamacare) by 2026.

What’s more, CBO says that under the new Republican plan three-quarters of the US population would end up living in an area without insurance at all for people buying insurance on their own. This is particularly relevant as the Republicans have been complaining non-stop about Obamacare causing insurers to leave the market. And their own plan is even worse.

At this point, they’re not even trying.

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The art of any deal http://americablog.com/2017/07/the-art-of-any-deal.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/the-art-of-any-deal.html#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:44:56 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143351 Trump’s defenders, and Trump himself, like to claim that he’s a master dealmaker. I don’t buy it. A master deal maker makes good deals. Trump as president seems desperate to make “any” deal.

Health care reform is the most glaring example. Does anyone really believe that Trump has any idea what the central issues are, let alone what specifically is in the House or Senate GOP bills?

Trump himself has promised that TrumpCare will have lower premiums and higher benefits. But neither the House nor Senate bills provide more benefits than Obamacare. And to the extent premiums are lower, it’s only because the benefits will be so much worse, including massively higher deductibles.

Photo credit: Michael Vadon

Look at the House GOP bill. It passes and the White House puts out a photo of Trump celebrating with his children and closest advisers. Then Trump holds an event at the White House, with all the GOP congressmen slapping each other on the back over the bill’s passage. A short time later, word leaks out that Trump thinks the bill is too mean, as CBO hast estimated the bill will lead to 23 million more uninsured. This, after Trump twice celebrated the bill’s passage.

Then we move to the Senate, where Trump apparently is promising a less-mean bill. The Senate bill, we ultimately find, will still lead to 22 million more uninsured. Yet Trump is promoting the Senate bill. Is there anything in the Senate bill to increase benefits, as promised by Trump? Nope.

There’s been other reporting that Trump is desperate for a health care deal simply to prove that he’s kept his promise. Not a promise as to the specifics of the replacement, just the promise to repeal Obamacare. The fact of a deal, any deal, is more important to Trump than the specifics.

And just imagine what Trump will be willing to give away in order to “strike a deal” with Putin.

When you’re dealing with legislation that impacts one-fifth of the economy, and the health and welfare of every American, the president should treat it as more than a simple trophy bride.

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PolitiFact: There’s no Obamacare “death spiral” http://americablog.com/2017/07/politifact-theres-no-obamacare-death-spiral.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/politifact-theres-no-obamacare-death-spiral.html#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:59:55 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143340 By now, we’re all familiar with the incessant GOP talking point that Obamacare is in a “death spiral.” Independent fact-checker PolitiFact looked into the issue, and found that the claim is absolutely “false.”

First, PolitiFact explains what an insurance death spiral is. Basically, increasing numbers of people leave the insurance market, leading to a smaller pool of insurers, which leads to higher premiums, which leads to even more people leaving. Death spiral.

Except that’s not actually happening with the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

First off, there’s been a 4% decrease in Obamacare enrollments since last year. But experts think it might be Trump’s fault. The Trump administration has cut back on marketing intended to get more people to sign up for Obamacare. There is no evidence, however, that healthy people are leaving the market — an important demographic as they tend to cost less.

PolitiFact goes on to note that the Congressional Budget Office, in its recent analysis of the Republican TrumpCare legislation, found that Obamacare is actually stable, as did an expert at Brookings.

Now, I will say, I worry when PolitiFact and others say that there’s no problem because 80% of people on Obamacare have their premiums subsidized, so they don’t see the price increases. I’m not rich, and my premiums aren’t subsidized. So we need to ensure that premiums don’t rise out of control. It’s not enough to say that “most” people won’t feel the increase. Many still will.

More importantly, I still worry about the Trump Administration’s death spiral taking Obamacare down with it. Trump has made clear that he’s happy to watch Obamacare go down in flames. And he’s also made clear that he may just help that happen. Trump has been threatening to cut off ACA subsidies to insurance companies; subsidies that help make health care affordable for low-income people. And that uncertainty, plus the uncertainty of GOP repeal efforts, has already caused next year’s premiums to skyrocket in some states. And the insurers have said outright, it’s the political climate in Washington that caused the spike.

And that’s the biggest danger to the ACA — Republicans, and in particular Donald Trump, vindictively trying to make Obamacare fail out of simple spite. Trump doesn’t like to lose, and much of his motivation in life and politics is based on revenge. There’s a real danger that Trump will simply sabotage our health care market in order to “prove” that “he was right.”

One final point on messaging. Be very careful about messaging over the coming months. The Republicans have been expert, and incessant, about using their “death spiral” talking point at every opportunity. This is the same way the GOP convinced the American people that the stimulus was a waste of money. They just repeat their talking point over and over and over, until it stuck. And they’re doing it again on the Affordable Care Act.

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Only 45% of Trump voters believe Don Jr. met with the Russians, after Junior admitted it http://americablog.com/2017/07/45-trump-voters-believe-don-jr-met-russians-junior-admitted.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/45-trump-voters-believe-don-jr-met-russians-junior-admitted.html#comments Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:13:58 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143322 Public Policy Polling has a new poll out that’s depressing as hell, and a sign of just how fact-deprived Trump voters truly are.

Among other findings, only 45% of Trump voters think Donald Trump Jr. met with Russians last year to discuss their offer to help his father win the election.

And 32% say it didn’t happen at all.

This is after Donald Trump Jr. already admitted publicly that he met with the Russians, and Donald Trump Sr. tweeted the fact that his son met with the Russians. After all that, only 45% believe it.

And people wonder how democracies die.

Another troubling finding: Even though Donald Trump Jr. admitted this too, only 26% of Trump voters think the Russians wanted Trump to win. And 44% think Putin wanted Hillary to win. (Putin HATED Hillary, and that’s a leading reason he got involved in the election to begin with.) Again, Donald Trump Jr. already tweeted out the emails he received from an intermediary for the Russians, acknowledging that they wanted Trump to win and wanted to help. Yet that admission by a Trump himself isn’t enough for Trump voters.

Also bizarre, only 13% of Trump voters think Trump’s team worked with Russians to help his campaign. Again, junior already admitted meeting with the Russians for this very purpose.

PPP calls all of this a certain amount of willful ignorance. I fear it’s worse than that. PPP even polled how Trump voters would feel if he shot someone. Trump famously bragged during the campaign that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters wouldn’t care. He was right. Only 29% disapprove, while 45% approve — without even knowing who he shot or why.

I watch Trump’s incremental train wreck and it explains a lot about how bad men rose to power in the past. It’s not just that they slowly, stealthily consolidate power when no one is looking. It can also be the fault of a public who knowingly accept, and shrug off, what was previously unthinkable. (Fox News isn’t helping things, either.)

Trump at a campaign rally mocking a NYT reporter with a disability.

Someone said to me the other day, “the problem isn’t Trump, the problem is America.” They meant that the Trump phenomenon goes much deeper than a shallow narcissist who never outgrew puberty and simply got lucky at the ballot box. Trump is in power because voters knew what he was, and voted for him anyway. Trump spewed sexism, racism, mocked people with disabilities and openly praised, and even embraced and defended, some of the world’s worst dictators, while repeatedly criticizing America. And people voted for him anyway.

Yes, Trump lost the popular vote; so in the end, the American people didn’t choose him to be their president. But he still got far too many votes after everything we learned about him during the campaign. Trump received 63 million votes to Hillary Clinton’s 65.8 million. Hillary kicked Trump’s ass. But someone as vile and unqualified as Trump should have lost by double-digit margins. And he didn’t.

Maybe Trump isn’t the only thing that’s broken. Maybe America is too. The question is whether we still have time to fix her.

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Chris Christie: It’s “probably against the law” to get opposition research from Russians http://americablog.com/2017/07/chris-christie-probably-law-get-opposition-research-russians.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/chris-christie-probably-law-get-opposition-research-russians.html#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:44:12 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143309 New Jersey governor, and former GOP presidential candidate, Chris Christie said today that “it’s probably against the law” for a political campaign to receive opposition research from a foreign country.

Christie did caveat his comments, first reported by the Associated Press, by saying that there’s no evidence as of yet that the Trump campaign received such research. Ryan Hutchins at Politico has more of Christie’s comments. They’re all over the place. It’s almost as if Christie was trying to say the truth, that this is really bad, but also trying to cover himself with Trump.

But in the end, Christie’s comments are not helpful to the Trump party line that there was nothing illegal about what Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were doing by agreeing to meet with Russian government officials in June of 2016 in order to receive opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

By Christie’s logic, Trump Jr, Kushner and Manafort “probably” agreed to break the law.

Now, what is Chris Christie’s game? First, he has little allegiance to Trump, who dumped Christie as the lead of the Trump transition after Jared Kushner allegedly complained. Christie previously sent Kushner’s father to jail.

Which takes us to our second point, this could be Christie’s revenge best served cold. Christie may be making a dig at Kushner, by raising the possible illegality of Kushner’s actions in attending this meeting.

Of course, Trump’s own son attended the meeting as well, and responded “I love it” when told that the Russian government wanted to help Trump win the election and had information to share.

But that takes us back to point 1: Christie may no longer have much love for Trump, who dumped Christie after the New Jersey governor had risked his reputation by supporting Trump during the campaign. Who can forget Chris Christie’s hostage video from March of 2016:

Trump owed Christie, bigly. And dumped him. And today, Christie got his revenge.

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PolitFact: Trump has worst poll numbers of any president since polling began http://americablog.com/2017/07/politfact-trump-worst-approval-ratings-president-since-polling-began.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/politfact-trump-worst-approval-ratings-president-since-polling-began.html#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:50:19 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143298 Donald Trump is lying again.

Yesterday, Trump tweeted about his poor polling numbers yesterday, and claimed that not only were the numbers “not bad” for someone six months into his presidency, but Trump also criticized the poll’s author, ABC/Washington Post. Specifically, Trump claimed that the ABC/Washington Post poll right before the election was “the most inaccurate poll” of that time.

All lies. In fact, the ABC/WaPo poll correctly predicted that Hillary would win the popular vote by 4 percentage points, with a margin of error of +/- 2.5. As CNN’s Jake Tapper notes, the poll was right:

As for Trump’s second point, that his approval rating is at 40% and that it’s “not bad” for someone six months into his presidency? First, Trump’s approval rating is at 36%, not 40%.

But things get really interesting when you look at Trump’s claim that his numbers aren’t that bad. They are. They’re really bad. They’re the worst of any president since polling began 70 years ago. PolitiFact compiled the numbers, and created a nifty chart:

Trump approval rating compared to other presidents

Yeah, dead last.

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Treason http://americablog.com/2017/07/treason.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/treason.html#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:16:56 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143289 We now know that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort attempted to collude with the Russian government in an effort to win the 2016 presidential election. We also know that the meeting, which Trump, Kushner and Manafort thought was with a Russian government official, included a man who is former Soviet counterintelligence with an apparent expertise in the dangers of email hacking.

While some Republicans have expressed concerns about the meeting, many others are making excuses for the trio, claiming that “anyone” would have accepted the meeting, and poor Don Jr was just “a kid” (at age 39) who knew little about politics — anyone in his position would have flirted with treason!

Nothing could be further from the truth. When I first started working in the US Senate, I was approached by a Soviet embassy official who wanted to be my new best friend. I immediate called the Senate security office, which informed me the man was KGB. I was new to politics, but I knew right from wrong, and I avoided that guy the entire 5 years I worked in the Senate. Soviets and Russians are trouble, and you don’t need a lot of political experience to know it (though Manafort had decades of Washington experience, and still attended the meeting.)

Another excuse coming from Donald Trump Sr’s lawyer, religious right anti-gay activist Jay Sekulow, is that Don Jr. didn’t break any laws. But how do we know? Don Jr., and Kushner and Manafort hid this meeting for the past year, and Junior only released his emails about the meeting because the New York Times had them and was about to publish them anyway. What’s more, Trump Jr. put out disinformation about the meeting, not realizing the New York Times had the entire real story. So if Don Jr. didn’t tell the full story last week, why do we believe he’s telling it this week?

Second point: Trump’s defenders claim that nothing came of the meeting, they didn’t get the dirt they wanted, and that the meeting ended up not being with current Russian government employees. But how do we know? We’re to trust Donald Trump Jr., and the Russians, claims that they weren’t really there on behalf of the Russian government and that no material was handed over to the Trump campaign? Also, it doesn’t matter. Donald Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort accepted and went to this meeting on the understanding that they were meeting with Russian government officials interested in helping Trump win the election. The actual status of the meeting attendees doesn’t change the fact that Trump & Co. thought they were meeting with Russian government officials, and were perfectly fine with it.

But there’s something else equally important: It’s not just about the law, it’s about being a good American. You just don’t accept help from America’s enemy, and that’s what Russia is. There’s no sugar-coating it. These same Republican congressman who are defending Trump Jr. knowingly accepting Russian government help to win the election would have assembled a literal firing squad had Chelsea Clinton done the same. But that’s not even the point. It’s not just about hypocrisy. It’s about disloyalty. It’s about the Republican party caring more about Moscow than Milwaukee. It’s about the GOP dumbing treason down. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign normalized sexual assault, and his presidency is normalizing treason.

What’s next? Trump is in trouble. That does not mean he’s going to be impeached any day soon. But, the Russia story, which was a growing inconvenience turned into a major scandal this week. We went from “no evidence of collusion,” to “sure they colluded, but there’s no evidence (yet) of treason.” And who’s to say there won’t be more shoes to drop in this ever-shoe-dropping scandal? Just look at Donald Trump Jr’s emails. Junior didn’t act terribly surprised, or concerned, that the Russians were apparently endorsing his dad’s campaign and wanted to help. You’d think the normal response would be “really, you’re kidding?” In Don Jr’s case, it was simply “I love it.” As if it was expected, normal, not out of the ordinary. Which raises a few questions.

1. Did Don Jr, Kushner and Manafort have previous meetings with Russians interested in helping the campaign?

2. Did anyone connected to Trump have any later meetings with the Russians, or their middlemen? This is the particularly relevant point. Don Jr., Kushner and Manafort welcomed the Russian government’s help last June. Why wouldn’t they have welcome it again at a later date? The message to the Russians was clear — we will gladly accept your help. In fact, the biggest concern anyone had about the meeting is that they didn’t, they claim, get any real dirt on Hillary. So did the Russians come back and offer more information and/or help at a later date? Why wouldn’t they?

3. Who’s to say they didn’t receive any dirt on Hillary from the Russian government? They hid the existence of this meeting for a year. Kushner didn’t even report it on his security clearance application form (the SF86, as it’s called). Why should anyone believe that this meeting that was hidden for a year didn’t produce any real results, simply because Don Jr. says so.

And finally, how in Lord’s name does Jared Kushner still have a security clearance after not reporting this meeting, along with 99 other foreign contacts, to the intelligence community when he applied for his clearance? How do you forget that you held a meeting with the Russian government in order to seek their assistance in winning the presidential election? I mean, did Kushner really have that many collusion meetings that he couldn’t remember one more? Poppycock.

Kushner’s security clearance should be suspended pending clearance by FBI special counsel Mueller. If you agree, add your name to our call to action.

In the end, the eagle knew before all the rest of us.

trump eagle

I’d never watched the entire video — Trump is scared to death of the bird throughout the shoot. And it keeps messing with his hair!

Back by popular demand are our “Trump/Putin” t-shirts, which sold so well last time that I brought them back, especially now that they’re topic. Consider them a donation to support my work. Here’s me wearing mine on the National Mall in DC. It was quite a popular shirt that day, everyone talked to me about it. The shirts come in a variety of colors, and women’s styles as well:

Also be sure to check out our new “Nevertheless she persisted” t-shirt, which comes in a variety of colors and styles:

Only one more week to get these shirts! Thanks for your support, JOHN

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Trump shakes-and-yanks President Macron off his feet at Bastille Day parade http://americablog.com/2017/07/trump-shakes-yanks-president-macron-off-feet-bastille-day-parade.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/trump-shakes-yanks-president-macron-off-feet-bastille-day-parade.html#comments Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:48:48 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143281 Donald Trump used his famous shake-and-yank handshake to pull French President Emmanuel Macron off his balance today.

This comes on the heels of Trump shake-and-yanking French First Lady Brigitte Macron on arriving in France yesterday.

Trump then made things worse by making a series of sexist comments about Mrs. Macron’s looks.

Here’s Trump pulling Macron off his feet.

CNN has the rest of the video. Trump goes for a full minute tugging at Macron, while Macron tries to hold his own.

Here’s Trump yanking Mrs. Macron yesterday:

Trump-yank-french first-lady-francex

Trump then, later, commented on First Lady Macron’s looks:

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Commander-in-Creep: Trump tells French First Lady “you’re in such good shape” http://americablog.com/2017/07/commander-creep-trump-tells-french-first-lady-youre-good-shape.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/commander-creep-trump-tells-french-first-lady-youre-good-shape.html#comments Thu, 13 Jul 2017 18:31:28 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143268 Donald Trump has done it again.

Only hours after inflicting his infamous shake-and-yank handshake on French First Lady Brigitte Macron, Trump made things even more embarrassing by gushing about what “good shape” First Lady Macron was in.

Trump looks at Mrs. Macron, fixates on her, and then says nothing. It was uncomfortable to watch; I can only imagine being Mrs. Macron.

“You’re in such good shape,” Trump tells the French First Lady. “She’s in such good physical shape,” Trump then tells President Macron. “Beautiful,” he adds.

 

 

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Melania who? Trump ignores First Lady Melania, again, in France http://americablog.com/2017/07/melania-trump-ignores-first-lady-melania-france.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/melania-trump-ignores-first-lady-melania-france.html#comments Thu, 13 Jul 2017 16:25:25 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143258 Donald Trump and First Lady Melania arrived in Paris today, for Trump’s Bastille Day visit. And, as usual, Melania was treated as an inconvenient afterthought.

In video from Trump’s initial greeting with French President Emaneul Macron and First Lady Brigitte, Melania is nowhere to be seen.

In fact, she was getting out of the other side of the car. And as is Trump’s custom, he totally ignored her, and started greeting everyone without her, while she made the lonely walk herself, the awkward third-wheel to Trump’s ego, and ultimately ended up standing behind her husband alone. It was finally left to the French President to welcome Melania to the group.

This is reminiscent of when Trump and Melania were arriving at the White House the first time, and Trump totally ignored her while greeting the Obamas. In the end, it was the Obamas who saved Melania.

The same thing happened on arriving in Europe, when Trump again totally blew off his wife.

Trump also made waves in France this morning by shaking and yanking the hand of French First Lady Brigitte Macron:

Trump-yank-french first-lady-francex

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Trump shakes-and-yanks French First Lady’s hand http://americablog.com/2017/07/trump-shakes-yanks-french-first-lady.html http://americablog.com/2017/07/trump-shakes-yanks-french-first-lady.html#comments Thu, 13 Jul 2017 14:12:50 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=143249 Donald Trump arrived in Paris this morning, and true to form, shaked and yanked French First Lady Brigitte Macron.

Trump has been criticized before for his odd penchant of yanking the arm of whomever he is shaking hands with, in an apparent show of dominance.

French President Emanuel Macron famously yanked back when he first met Trump a few weeks ago. Which really ticked off Trump, according to press reports.

And now Trump meets the French First Lady and yanks her arm like one of the boys he’s trying to dominate. You can see how entire body move to the right as he yanks her. He simply can’t help himself.

Trump-yank-french first-lady-francex

Trump then, later, commented on First Lady Macron’s looks:


For more background on Trump’s creepy shake-and-yank handshake, CNN’s Jeanne Moos did a great synopsis, with video!

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