Editors' pickPoliticsUSA

United States of Authoritarianism:

Oct 8–14

  1. Lawd.

Bob Corker says White House is ‘adult day care center’ after Trump Twitter hit

2. What the actual fuck?

A mayor in Puerto Rico calls for FEMA help. FEMA’s director says he’s “filtering [her] out.”

3. Unspeakably cruel.

White House Makes Hard-Line Demands for Any ‘Dreamers’ Deal

4. See, religion is rapidly losing any claim to any moral ground whatsoever. You will pay the price for this down the road.

Religious Right Overjoyed by ‘License to Discriminate’

5. Ooh, I missed this little tidbit. Definitely get your popcorn for this hearing.

Grassley: ‘No way’ to avoid public Trump Jr hearing

6. Thank goodness for small things, I suppose. Still the big question is whether we continue this dysfunction with someone more functional or back the fuck off this horror train altogether.

So far, the story of Trump’s presidency is dysfunction, not authoritarianism.

But honestly, I’m afraid that we’re being groomed, as it were, to accept truly authoritarian rule later on.

4 political scientists are tracking whether Trump is damaging American democracy

7. Corker is NOT a nice guy. Corker was an early Трамп supporter and all that shit. Still, the enemy of my enemy can be popcorn-worthy.

Corker told The New York Times Sunday that Trump was treating the presidency like “a reality show” and acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”

“He concerns me,” Corker told the Times. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Corker: Trump is setting up the country for World War III

Definitely this. Basically, ball’s in his court after all his puffery.

For congressional Republicans, this is your moment in history’s eye. One of your colleagues, who has decided that he’s not going to run for office again, and who also was the object of one of Trump’s intemperate attacks this morning, has decided that he might as well tell the truth. It turns out that this is often the right way to go! As the (slightly altered) line from Mark Twain put it, in taking this course you will gratify some people and astonish the rest. Perhaps Corker’s motivations are not the purest or most ringingly glorious. He was nice to Trump last year, when Corker was in the mentioning-cloud as a possible secretary of state, and his retorts today followed personal attacks from Trump. Still, he’s doing the right thing. And Corker has secured a better place for himself in the annals of Senate history than he would have had only 24 hours ago.

This most definitely should not be the last step for Corker. If he believes what he says, then as the chairman of the relevant committee in the Senate he has important tools to use. He can issue subpoenas and summon executive branch witnesses as soon as he can get his colleagues back in town. He can draft legislation about the procedure, the grounds, and the justifications before the U.S. commits troops to war. He could urge his colleagues toward the next step through their stages-of-tragedy relationship with Trump. Stage one was carping and dismissal during the first half of 2016, when he was an entertaining long-shot . Stage two was Vichy-regime acquiescence to him during the campaign. Stage three was “support” early this year, toward the goal of the Gorsuch confirmation and the hope of a tax-cut bill. Now we see the inklings of stage four, with the dawning awareness of what Corker spelled out: that they have empowered something genuinely dangerous. It’s time for Corker to act on that knowledge, and his colleagues too.

Will Bob Corker Act to Rein in Trump?

8. As of today [October 8, 2017], Donald Трамп

… has spent 261 days as President of the United States.
… has spent 90 of those days (34%) at a Trump property
… has spent 70 of those days (27%) at a Trump golf property

Tracking the president’s visits to Trump properties

9. Not only that, but the fundraiser was for the Russian Stooge Rohrabacher.

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10. Let’s hope so.

The Trump-Russia dossier: why its findings grow more significant by the day

Though to be honest, I still don’t like this twit.

Ken Starr predicts indictments in Russia probe

11. Yes. C’mon, media!

Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview. …

Without offering specifics, he said Mr. Trump had repeatedly undermined diplomacy with his Twitter fingers. “I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Mr. Corker said.

All but inviting his colleagues to join him in speaking out about the president, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.

“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he said, adding that “of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

So to the main point:

But whatever Corker says and does now, his new comments should precipitate a fundamental change in the way the press treats the ongoing GOP enabling of Trump. Corker has forced out into the open the fact that Republicans recognize the sheer abnormality and danger to the country of the situation we’re in, which opens the door for much tougher media questioning of them about their awareness of — and acquiescence to — this state of affairs.

This can start with a simple query: Do Republicans agree with Corker that Trump regularly needs to be constrained by his top advisers from engaging in conduct that threatens severe damage to the country and the world? If so, what are Republicans prepared to do about it?

(bolds mine)

Opinion | Bob Corker just confirmed it: Republicans know Trump is unfit

12. SV has a lot to answer for, really.

Russian propaganda engaged U.S. vets, troops on Twitter and Facebook, study finds

13. Grrr. And now they all suck his dick.

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14. But never let it be said Republicans can’t evolve:

Mike Pence Started Out As a Powerful Veep. He’s Now Trump’s Pathetic Culture War Prop.

15. Agreed.

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16. LAWD

Ivana Трамп vs Melania Трамп…

17. Трамп is the very definition of a rentier and his petty, money-grubbing viewpoint is solidly behind extraction. This also highlights what the GOP is doing, which is draining all value out of the economy into their (and their corporate overlords’) pockets. This will only get worse under his watch and with the GOP in control. Mind you, the bonfire was already pretty much set up and burning, but he’s pouring gas all over it.

An extraction economy is what it sounds like. It’s an economy that is run for a few people. All of the benefits go to a few and the vast majority of people are left out. Most of what we call third-world countries are extraction economies.

An inclusion economy, by contrast, is an economy that benefits the people of the country more broadly.

The United States is becoming an extraction economy (like Puerto Rico)

18. “Temperamentally unfit…” Where have I heard that before. Hang on, it’ll come to me…

In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem.

In doing so, Trump is laboring to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign — especially after the embarrassing defeat of Sen. Luther Strange in last month’s Alabama GOP special election, despite the president’s trip there to campaign with the senator.

Sen. Bob Corker’s brutal assessment of Trump’s fitness for office — warning that the president’s reckless behavior could launch the nation “on the path to World War III” — also hit like a thunderclap inside the White House, where aides feared possible ripple effects among other Republicans on Capitol Hill.

A ‘pressure cooker’: Trump’s frustration and fury rupture alliances, threaten agenda

19. Extraction economics:

The Republican Plan to Rob America

20. Coal will die a fucking ugly death anyway because no one wants this shit already. This is just sticking knives into a corpse to keep it twitching.

Pruitt tells coal miners he will repeal power plan rule Tuesday: ‘The war on coal is over.’

21. Sounds like third grade recess class to me.

Trump boasts of a higher IQ than Tillerson

22. Finally! An action I can agree with! The NFL shouldn’t be federally subsidized, full stop. That said, I’m fairly certain that gov’t officials pressuring private companies on matters of speech is illegal somewhere…

Trump Threatens NFL Tax Breaks In Early-Morning Tweetstorm

23. You and your colleagues should fucking stop voting for his agenda.

“When you’re the President of the United States, your words are policy. People take those words very seriously, and I don’t think the President has learned that yet,” Dent said, referencing Trump’s fiery rhetoric toward North Korea and it’s leader Kim Jong-Un. “The President, I believe, has to be much more measured in his rhetoric, but good luck with that.”

I don’t think he’s capable of learning any of that. Even if he wanted to.

Rep. Dent: ‘More Of My Colleagues Should Speak Up’ Against Trump

24. There’s a lot to think about here.

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Watching SV closely.

How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape U.S. Politics

25. We have enough of our own, thank you. (Depressing to see how many people are so easily played for fools, though.)

Organizers behind armed white supremacist protest in Houston revealed as Russian

26. I wonder if we will manage to generate enough fury on this one like we did health care?

White collar vs. blue collar: GOP tax plan threatens to widen party’s divide

27. Ah GOP, how far you’ve fallen. The rot started with Reagan and today here we are.

The bizarre situation where only retiring Republicans will talk about Trump’s fitness for office

28. o.O

Mensa offers to host IQ test for Trump and Tillerson

29. Mah taxpayer money…to protect a fucking orange turd.

Secret Service spent $137K on golf carts to protect Trump at New Jersey, Florida clubs

30. And slowly the worm turns. But I think enough of the GOP is happy that Mr Bankruptcy is still safe for now.

Donald Trump’s Obamacare Sabotage is Starting to Piss Off Republicans

31. Funny, I don’t think “recused” means what they think it means.

Earlier this year, Nunes announced that he was stepping aside from directing the committee’s Russia inquiry after he became the subject of an ethics investigation into his handling of classified information. But more recently, he has made clear that he is still playing an influential role, despite announcing that he had delegated authority on the Russia matter to Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas.

A source familiar with the matter told CNN that all Russia-related subpoenas have been approved by Conaway. A Conaway spokeswoman declined to comment.

But the subpoenas appear to be the latest fight in an investigation that has periodically been hobbled by controversy and infighting.

A Democratic committee source said “the subpoenas were issued unilaterally by the majority, without the minority’s agreement and despite good faith engagement thus far by the witnesses on the potential terms for voluntary cooperation.”

Indeed, the move blindsided some committee members, multiple sources told CNN. And it has angered some on the committee who say that Nunes is still seeking to direct an investigation he was supposed to have no involvement in leading.

Nunes signs off on new subpoenas to firm behind Trump-Russia dossier

32. We are losing crucial future industries to other nations with this batshit stupidity. Even conservative, probusiness should be fucking pissed & push back on this crap!

The Myth That ‘Business’ Hated Obama’s Clean Power Plan

33. Chilling. Fascism.

A college professor criticized Trump. Now the White House wants an investigation

34. The stupid, it just fucking burns.

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35. Twiddling thumbs, or something. Wankers.

The Republican-controlled Congress focused almost all of its efforts and attention on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, leaving work on other health care matters unattended. Lawmakers were looking to put together a final fix in September. But instead, they tried to make another run at upending Obamacare and the deadline for reauthorization CHIP came and went.

Congress Can’t Get Its Sh*t Together and It’s Putting Kids at Risk

36. Dumber than a fucking pile of rocks, I swear.

Trump Wanted a Trade War. Any Trade War. He Picked South Korea.

38. /facepalm

Over the weekend, President Trump was accused by a Republican senator of running the White House like a “reality show.” In the 48 hours that followed, this is how the president rebutted the characterization.

He called out the offending senator for being short and sounding like “a fool.” He challenged his secretary of state to an I.Q. contest and insisted he would win. He celebrated the downfall of a critic who was suspended from her job. And his first wife and third wife waged a public war of words over who was really his first lady.

Trump Mocks Bob Corker’s Height, Escalating Feud with a Key Republican

39. Scary AF

What Bob Corker Really Fears

40. Meanwhile, toddler in White House threatens to shut down press.

Trump: ‘Fake NBC News’ nuke story ‘pure fiction’

41. Teh stoopit…

Zinke: Taking Down Confederate Statues Will Upset ‘Native Indians’

42. Er, what does it actually do, then?

Rachel Maddow reports on the situation in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, which has not received any FEMA aid despite multiple visits from FEMA representatives who helped victims with paperwork. FEMA says its the mayor’s job to distribute food and water.

https://medium.com/media/64054a7c9514557dc686ca1f61383c4c/href

43. Jesus.

Puerto Rico: US officials privately acknowledge serious food shortage

44. Greedy fucking gits. The GOP remind me of those monkeys who can’t get out of a trap by letting go of the food they grabbed…

GOP leaders generally acknowledged (on and off the record) that their nominee’s reckless campaign-trail persona was not suitable for the leader of the free world — but they insisted there would be a difference between Candidate Trump and President Trump. He would surround himself with competent advisers; lean on the good judgment of his running-mate Mike Pence; and mellow out as he confronted the full burdens of the office.

[…]

Ironically, this sentiment was perhaps best articulated by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker — the Republican chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee who has emerged in recent days as the leading Republican voice sounding the alarm about the president’s volatility and incompetence. In a 2016 interview with the Tennessean newspaper, Corker dismissed what he called the “caricature” of Trump as an impetuous man who should be allowed nowhere near the nuclear football.

Yeah, that Corker. Which is why I still say, fuck you, enemy of my enemy.

How Republicans Got Trump Catastrophically Wrong

46. That’s one big-ass investigation with a lot of big-ass pieces…

Russia Probe Now Investigating Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s ‘Psychographic’ Data Gurus

47. o.O

“I Hate Everyone”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear He Is “Unraveling”

48. o.O O.o

A pharmacist says he has filled Alzheimer’s prescriptions for members of Congress

49. Boo fucking hoo.

“My experience is he welcomes [advice]. He just doesn’t like to be publicly criticized and he certainly doesn’t like to be personally criticized,” said Christopher Ruddy, a friend who publishes Newsmax, a conservative website.

And fucking Hannity.

Fox host Sean Hannity made clear in a phone call and on his show that Trump must draw a harder line on broader immigration enforcement as his price.

Trump sided with Hannity, according to a person close to the White House. The result was a list of demands unveiled Sunday night — conditions seemingly guaranteed to thwart a bipartisan deal.

I think what makes me so mad esp. about Hannity is that for him I think it’s just a game, to see what he can do when riling everyone up. It’s a way of showcasing influence more than sincerely held beliefs 😛

Trump unleashes himself from would-be handlers, lashing out mornings, nights and weekends

50. The real fun with this link is in its URL:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2017/10/now_we_know_why_rex_tillerson_called_donald_trump_a_moron.html

At one point in the meeting, a briefer showed the president a graph tracking the dramatic reduction in U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons over the past several decades. That reduction is widely interpreted as a success story about arms-control treaties, the end of the Cold War, and the declining dependence on weapons of catastrophic destruction. But Trump viewed it with alarm, telling the group that he wanted more nukes. Pointing to the graph’s peak year, 1969, when the U.S. had 32,000 nuclear weapons, Trump said he wanted that many nukes now.

And yeah, “fucking moron” about covers it.

Trump Got Mad Because Other Presidents Had More Nukes Than Him

51. Pointed.

GOP senator to Trump: Are you ‘recanting of the’ Oath of Office?

52. Agreed.

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53. I don’t know if the GOP is reaching a boiling point or not. The question is when they start to think Трамп reflects too badly on them. They really really really want to fuck up the taxes before they get rid of Trump. So there’s your answer. Greed over safety.

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54. o.O What part of ‘part of the united states’ does he not understand?

Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico: ‘We cannot keep first responders there forever!’

55. It’s interesting when conservatives start parroting liberal talking points.

Conservative columnist: Founding Fathers had Trump in mind when they included impeachment clause

56. “Air? We don’t need no stinkin’ air.”

Pruitt said on Monday that he’d like to “do away with” tax credits and other incentives for renewable energy, forcing the nascent wind and solar industries to compete head-to-head with heavily subsidized fossil fuels without government assistance. “The war on coal is over,” he said at an event with coal miners in Kentucky.

I don’t think the IQ level of this is measurable.

The Trump Administration Just Repealed The Only Major U.S. Rule To Combat Climate Change

57. o.O

Unesco: US quits UN heritage agency over ‘anti-Israel bias’

58. Speak for yourself:

I don’t think we talk enough about what a complete idiot Donald Trump is.

OK. I like the way you think:

But there’s also the totally ignorant, stupid, numbskull part, too.

But anyway the thing of it is, I’m sure that Трамп knows that this is about destroying ACA, not about fixing it. Remember the lies he spews even more mindlessly than people breathe? Yeah. That. So really, I’d term it malignant narcissism.

Trumpcare Executive Order Bound To Bring Higher Premiums And Lawsuits

Let’s just take a look at that again:

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59. Who to believe, eh? Kelly or Трамп?

White House vows to help Puerto Rico recovery ‘until the job is done’

60. They are willing to gamble the country if not the world on their sick fixation.

Given the swirling tumult, one political and legislative reality is suddenly becoming crystal clear: Republicans must deliver a tax cut or face an epic backlash that would pose a significant threat to their governing majority and long-term political health.

And to be honest, I think they are in denial because I think they are ALREADY facing an epic backlash no matter want. Malignant, homicidal fuckers.

For Republicans, ‘Failure Is Not an Option’ on Tax Cuts

61. I fucking hope so. We lose universal, trusted voting, we lose everything.

Are Americans Beginning to Care about Election Integrity? – WhoWhatWhy

62. Of course he is. I wonder who is making the perponderance of these recs to the Orange Turd? Mercers? Koch? Hannity? There’s no way he’s coming up with such perfect agents of destruction all on his own there.

Trump puts rival CEO who wants to muzzle NOAA in charge of the agency – Red, Green, and Blue

63. Indeed not. What the fuck is this?

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More on the twitter thread.

64. Ugly.

Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, condemned President Trump’s decision to address the event.

“By appearing at the Values Voter Summit, President Trump is lending the legitimacy of his office to a hate group that relentlessly demonizes LGBT people and works to deny them of their equal rights,” he told The Independent.

“His appearance puts the lie to his campaign promise to be a friend to the LGBT community. Bigotry is not an American value, and our president should speak out against it.”

Donald Trump to be first President to speak at anti-LGBT hate group’s event

65. Well yeah. You OWN THIS, you fucking GOP.

Donald Trump’s Twitter: Damaging the Republican Character | National Review

66. Whut?

Interior Secretary Zinke has his own flag ritual, commemorative coins

67. Taxpayer money directly into the dumpster fire.

Secret Service paid Mar-a-Lago at least $63,000, documents show

68. o.O

Khrushchev’s Granddaughter Just Compared Trump To Stalin

69. /sigh

The Great Unraveling

Sums it up:

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70. Nepotism. What a wonderful, wonderful thing…it overcomes all levels of venality and stupidity…

Democrats have called on the White House to revoke security clearances granted to Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Ivanka Trump over reports of their use of personal email accounts and Kushner’s multiple updates to his security clearance questionnaire, known as SF-86, for failing initially to include meeting with foreign officials.

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois asked Phalen, “can you recall if there has ever been an applicant having to submit four addenda detailing over 100 errors and omissions being able to maintain their security clearance once those errors and omission have been identified?”

Phalen said he has not seen “the breadth” of all applications “but I have never seen that level of mistakes.”

Background check chief has ‘never seen’ mistakes like Kushner forms

71. Nihilsm is right.

Trump’s larger presidential agenda has focused on unwinding Barack Obama’s legacy. He’s more focused on destroying his nemesis than trying to replace, to fix, or to improve Obama’s biggest accomplishments from the Iran deal to environmental regulation.

On health care, there are going to be immediate and very real consequences for Americans. There are real people who stand to be hurt by an administration that has actively decided to make a public benefits program function poorly.

Trump has long predicted the implosion of the Affordable Care Act. It’s now become clear he plans to use the White House to tear down his predecessor rather than to help the people who voted him into office.

The GOP is dead.

Trump’s acting like Obamacare is just politics. It’s people’s lives.

72. I just don’t get this. The only reason he seems to hate this deal is because he sees it as Obama’s…

The deliberations show the extent to which Trump’s national security team in recent months has been occupied with navigating the future of the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump repeatedly vowed to throw out as a “disaster” during the campaign. The sometimes angry internal debate also provides another illustration of the way in which Trump’s gut impulses and desire for dramatic action have often collided with the subtlety of international diplomacy.

“Fucking moron”… yep.

‘He threw a fit’: Trump’s anger over Iran deal forced aides to scramble for a compromise

But consequences are serious…could be setting up for war, for example.

Trump to de-certify Iran nuclear deal

73. /facepalm

White House desperately tries to fix Trump’s widely-mocked claim he met with ‘president of the Virgin Islands’

74. /facepalm

House Republican accuses media of inventing Puerto Rico crisis

75. GOP entering extremely dangerous territory here. This might actually wind up derailing the tax gutting they’re trying to ram through, if they have to pivot to address this.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll – October 2017: Open Enrollment and the ACA Marketplaces

President Trump’s peculiar combination of malevolence, certainty in his own negotiating prowess and cluelessness about the details of policy sometimes leads him to issue fearsome-sounding threats that are rooted in a baffling misread of the distribution of leverage and incentives underlying the situation at hand.

Opinion | Trump’s latest rage-threat actually points a gun at the heads of Republicans

76. “If Obamacare were truly collapsing, sabotage would not be necessary.”

Trump Unveils Full-Bore Obamacare Sabotage

77. I am cautious about this. Many places are Republican strongholds. Many places don’t actually have any D’s being groomed to run (or supported with $, etc). But still.

Trump’s missteps are giving Democrats a better shot at winning back the House

78. This is beyond bullshit.

President Trump is calling on Congress to fix the nuclear deal with Iran, a risky strategy with a high degree of difficulty. The legislative gambit, as explained by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday evening, delegates the administration’s responsibility for addressing perceived flaws in the nuclear deal. And if Congress doesn’t come together to act on his demands, Trump will get what he has always wanted: an excuse to pull out of the deal altogether and point the finger at someone else.

Opinion | Trump dares Congress to save the Iran deal – from himself

79. Indeed.

Dan Rather: Trump Is The President Of His Bigoted Base, Not The President Of The United States

80. Snort.
Giggle.
GUFFAW.
FFS.

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 15 through October 21, 2017, as National Character Counts Week

81. Of course you need to remember he shits on everyone.

Pro-Trump states most affected by his health care decision

82. We need to listen to these warning signals and take action.

20 of America’s top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They’re scared.

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