Kool aid

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I must admit that I remain astonished at our current political landscape.

We have a Congress who are attempting to take healthcare away from at least 22M people in the name of what? Reducing premiums for the young and healthy? Providing the first of many big tax cuts to the wealthy? Further punishing the poor, sick, and old just because they can? Because we need something to replace Obamacare because we promised something better? How do you then explain a plan that costs more, covers less, threatens those with pre-existing conditions, does nothing to address the basic drivers increasing healthcare costs, and essentially eliminates Medicaid as we know it?

Then we have a President encouraging Congress to repeal Obamacare completely without any replacement as some sort of punishment to Democrats for not supporting him. If he can’t have what he wants, nobody can. Those 32M people who suddenly find themselves without healthcare can just go to the emergency room (Mitt Romney’s solution the problem of the uninsured).

It isn’t even enough to discover that the new healthcare bill will cause premature deaths to rise by approximately 29,000 a year as a result of lost insurance. Medical bankruptcies will again begin to rise after a decline during the ACA years.

We even have Republicans suggesting that the best way to deal with opioid addiction is to inform addicts that public safety officials can only afford to save their lives with Nar can three times. The fourth time they overdose, public safety officials are instructed to just let them die. Why? Because saving their lives is too expensive.

We’ve got reports that Russian hackers discussed gaining access to Clinton emails during the 2016 campaign and providing them through an intermediary to Michael Flynn.

We’ve got Mitch McConnell saying that he has $200B to play with and should be able to buy some votes. He has $200B to play with BECAUSE the Senate bill kicks so many people off of the healthcare insurance rolls so much faster than the House bill that instead of saving $119B over the next decade, the number is more than $300B.

We’ve got the war ratcheting up in Syria and Afghanistan with nary a peep from Trump supporters.

We watched a truly cringe-worth round robin of ring kissing from Trump’s staff and cabinet. Normally those things only happen in dictatorships and religions.

We’ve got Trump demonstrating on a daily basis that he has no idea what he is doing. His attempt to rally the senatorial troops to get a vote on his healthcare bill was embarrassing. It’s so bad, that McConnell had to chew out Priebus calling a Trump PAC’s attacks on Nev. Senator Heller for his opposition of the Senate healthcare bill “beyond stupid”.

There is all of this and more and what does everyone get upset about?

Trump picks another fight with a female news person.

Republicans can’t seem to muster the courage to call him and the Republican leadership out for their cynical attempts to pass a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy. They secretly cringe when he obsessively thrusts himself back into the spotlight taking focus away from their attempts actually get something done. They continue to defend him as the evidence mounts regarding his campaign’s involvement with the Russians and his own attempts to obstruct the FBI investigation.

You’ve got Paul Ryan defending the large number of uninsured in the Republican bill by claiming that most people don’t want healthcare insurance. Exactly the opposite is true. The main reason people don’t have health insurance is because they can’t afford it.

But even he felt compelled to say something about how inappropriate Trump’s attacks are.

Some folks in the White House think that they are somehow “winning” when Trump demonstrates that he is a petulant narcissist. In their view, these events galvanize their base because it forces them to swallow yet another gulp of the Trump Kool-Aide which inoculates them against reality and demonizes the only source of unbiased information that could possibly save them.

But even some of these have decided that this recent tweet may have been a bridge too far.

So if this is what it takes to finally get us to a point where Trump can be held accountable for his failures to fulfill his responsibilities as President, I hope that the Morning Joe reality-TV battle is only the first of a long series of attacks, each more demeaning and mean spirited than the last.

Perhaps that will be the missing ingredient to break the Trump spell for enough of his current supporters that we can finally start a rational discussion about the consequences of incompetence.

In the meantime, we’ll have to continue to witness to Trump’s feeble attempts to govern with a weak 40% approval rating and an even weaker understanding of how to function in the most powerful elected office in the world.

As I already mentioned, last week Trump called GOP holdouts to the White House for some old fashioned arm twisting around the stalled Senate healthcare bill. What happened? Nothing. Nobody changed their vote. Why? Because when the House bill was in a similar situation, he threatened intransigent conservatives that he would actively campaign against them if they didn’t drop their demands. What happened? They called his bluff. He caved and gave into their demands. They passed a bill that now has no chance of passing the Senate.

He has strong support among Republicans. Where are his appeals to his base and Republicans in general to support the Senate efforts? Shouldn’t this be a natural instinct for a “master salesman”? Instead he has been criticizing the bill. When he calls the bill “mean” and implies that it is cheap, how many Senators are going to be willing to take a hard vote? He is already telling them that he is going to protect himself if this whole thing goes south.

He has even undercut his lead dog in this fight, majority leader McConnell. McConnell has been working every angle he can think of wrangle the handful of votes he needs to get this thing passed and Trump undercuts those efforts with a tweet suggesting that it may be time to throw in the towel and just repeal Obamacare without any replacement. That’s what Rand Paul wants to do, not Mitch McConnell.

What does all of this mean?

It is not going to get better. Trump isn’t going to change and the realities of how politics works are also not going to change.

What will change is the voter’s opinions of Trump and those who support him. We will discover that like many other things about this President, his unwavering kool-aid-loving support is small too. We’ll see how this plays out in the 2018 election.

7 Responses to “Kool aid”

  1. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, this media war thing could go on for a while. That’s because both sides feel that they are winning. MSNBC is having a banner year. Even CNN is up in year over year ratings. So they have no reason to stop lampooning Trump and it appears that Trump is perfectly happy to, in his words, hit back.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/340318-media-reaps-dividends-from-trump-attacks

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    BTW, BTW – other Beyond Stupid actions.

    Trump approves sending a US destroyer into waters that China has been claiming as within their borders. Trump took action last week against a Chinese Bank that it claimed was laundering money for North Korea. Trump threatened to impose import duties on Chinese steel. He called China one of the worst offenders in human trafficking. And he sold $1.4B of weapons to Taiwan.

    Today he is asking China to help resolve the nuclear issues with North Korea.

    So far the Chinese have played Trump like a drum. Remember Trump’s attempt to use abandoning the One China policy as a negotiating tactic. Trump caved on that in his first meeting with China. What did he get in return? He got a conversation. He got no progress on North Korea. He got no cessation in China’s territorial expansion. And all of the activities listed above continued.

    Trump threatened to take matters into our own hands in dealing with North Korea. What happened? North Korea stepped up their missile testing.

    At what point are we going to hold Trump accountable for his failure to make any progress on this very serious foreign policy issue?

    Could it be that Trump is simply in over his head?

  3. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Remember that conversation about intent?

    We now have DT jr. confirming that he met with a Russian lawyer. His first explanation about that meeting in 2016 was a lie, or at least a misrepresentation. He later admitted that he took the meeting with the lawyer because the lawyer promised information that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign. They were willing to proceed, but the Russian lawyer was unable to deliver on the damaging information that was originally promised.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/if-there-wasnt-collusion-it-wasnt-for-lack-of-trying/533070/

    This is not collusion because no information was exchanged.

    If there WAS information exchanged between the lawyer and the campaign, hopefully you are willing to agree that this would be collusion.

    But if we are willing to admit that had data been exchanged it would be collusion, then this is clearly INTENT to commit collusion.

    I don’t know whether INTENT in an of itself in a crime.

    What we do know, however, is that the Trump campaign had no problem getting damaging information on the Clinton campaign from Russians. All that remains to prove collusion is confirmation that the DID get information damaging to the Clinton campaign from some OTHER Russians.

    Oh, and BTW the admission by DT jr. meant that his previous denials regarding meetings with the Russians in March was a lie. Also his father’s denial in January that there were any contacts between his campaign and Russians was a lie. Hope Hicks denial in November that there were any contacts between the campaign and any foreign entity – that was a lie too. Kellyanne Conway’s denial in December regarding contact with any Russians interested in meddling with the election – that was a lie. Pence’s denial in January that there was any contact with any Russians interested in meddling in the election – that was a lie. Spicer’s denial in February supporting Trump’s January comment – that was a lie. DT jr.’s claim in July last year that Russians were not trying to help his father’s campaign – that was a lie.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/07/10/donald-trump-jr-just-contradicted-a-whole-bunch-of-white-house-denials-of-russian-contacts/?utm_term=.7da6ff664e14

    Why are all of these lies important? Because Mueller (who continues to build out his team of high powered lawyers) is going to have an opportunity to ask each one of these people about their lies under oath. They will be forced, under the penalty of perjury, to either admit that what they knew about this Russian meeting and when they knew it, OR tell the investigators who in the Trump campaign lied to them. The investigators will then be able to follow the tree of lies back to the original lie regarding this meeting. We know that at least Paul Manafort and Jarad Kushner were at this meeting. So both of them knew that all of these other denials were lies. We’ll see if either of them are going to be willing to take the fall for Trump if it comes to that.

    It also provides an opening for the Congressional investigations to follow the same trail with the same tactics and see who is willing to publicly perjure themselves and who is willing to point the finger at the next person in the Trump campaign hierarchy.

    This is why this investigation IS NOT a witch hunt and why it will continue well into the 2018 campaign season. Combine that with the likely failure of the Senate to pass an Obamacare repeal, North Korea getting an ICBM to threaten LA, and we’ll see how many more Trump supporters start to have second thoughts.

  4. Keith says:

    A couple amount the many good things that are happening.

    They aren’t shooting at each other in Syria. How long? Who knows. So back off that statement.

    Steel trade may see negotiated deals: Trump administration
    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration had “substantive conversations on steel, especially with the Chinese delegation,” at the G20 meeting in Hamburg last week and suggested negotiated settlements were possible.

    In an interview on the ABC television network’s “This Week” program Sunday Mnuchin said the threat of trade sanctions via the Section 232 steel import investigation launched by the Trump administration in April, as well as other factors, led to “very proactive discussions” with America’s counterparts at the meeting.

    “What we’re trying to do is negotiate agreements with them and I think we’re making very good progress on that,” Mnuchin said. “And if we can’t get the agreements that President Trump wants, then we’ll take action on trade.”

    He said he was not worried about the possibility of starting a trade war with steel tariffs. European steel producers’ association Eurofer warned of “disastrous global trade flow distortions” if the US decides on 232 sanctions (see other story).

    The American steel market has been waiting for an indication of Trump’s intentions on the 232 investigation and some had expected it by the end of last month. Steel markets have been tentative for several weeks as the 232 case could result in steel tariffs, quotas or tariff-rate quotas that could substantially affect domestic steel prices.

    When asked if a decision on steel tariffs via the 232 case is imminent or if Trump would delay a decision to allow the G20 nations to examine the situation, Mnuchin would not speculate.

    “I think President Trump’s made it very clear,” he said. “He’s not going to broadcast all his strategies, so that when we’re negotiating kind of with all of our counterparts…we’re not going to broadcast on TV what our strategy is exactly when we’re taking actions.”

  5. Keith says:

    The Trump JR thing I haven’t followed. I’m telling you, and I think I’m right about this, it’s becoming a “Clinton thing for many.” So much “Russian talk” and nothing happening with it. It’s not resonating.

    So it wouldn’t prove collusion. Again there is no evidence.

    Hypothical for you Jeff. You are asking me if information had been exchanged and the Trump team used it would that be collusion?

    Well if Chuck Schumar and Joe Biden had been given the opportunity to refuse a Bush Supreme Court nomination in Bushs last year they would have, using the same logic you are applying to Trump JR. (they said they would). You however lambast the cowardly McConnal for not giving Obamas guy a vote. I agree Trump JR made a lousy choice. Seemingly now you’ll agree either McConnell isn’t wrong or Biden and Schumar are just like McConnell.

    On the whole collusion thing I dont know. I also don’t know what it means if they did. I know I wouldnt like it.

    Here’s a question. How much do you read and hear in the media of how many of Trumps agenda items from the campaign has he been able to accomplish?
    Maybe this, how much attention has been given to anything he’s actually done?

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    They aren’t shooting at each other in Syria. How long? Who knows. So back off that statement.

    Not sure who “they” are, but the cease fire in Syria is only for a portion of the country. “They” continue to shoot at each other in the rest of the country. I agree, however, that it is good news that Russia and the US have brokered a cease fire in even a portion of the country.

    As far as the steel deal, talk to me when something is done. Talk is cheap. Talk from the Trump administration is particularly cheap

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    The Trump JR thing I haven’t followed. I’m telling you, and I think I’m right about this, it’s becoming a “Clinton thing for many.” So much “Russian talk” and nothing happening with it. It’s not resonating.

    Please explain “Clinton thing” and “resonating”. It’s obvious that there are 20% or so of the electorate who are going to support Trump to the very end. There is nothing to be said for them. It’s the other 20% that I’m watching to see what Trump has to do to lose their support. Attacking women appears to “resonate” with them. Not sure what else.

    So it wouldn’t prove collusion. Again there is no evidence.

    I’m also curious if you are not following this item, how you can immediately state that there is no evidence?

    In this particular case, the meeting, and those attended, and the nature of the conversation were all admitted by DT Jr. He took the meeting with Kushner and Manafort because they thought that the Russian lawyer had some dirt on Clinton. That “dirt” was proof that Clinton was taking campaign funding from Russians. DT Jr. has tried to claim that this was just normal campaign stuff. The White House has tried to claim that DT Jr. didn’t know that the Clinton “dirt” was coming from Russians. Both claims have since collapsed.

    In the case of the second claim, we know who sent the email to setup the meeting. The NYT reports that the email to set up the meeting specifically said that the “dirt” was coming from the Russians.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/07/11/daily-202-email-to-donald-trump-jr-could-be-a-smoking-gun-as-russia-connections-deepen/5963e8eee9b69b7071abcb06/?utm_term=.7e3708ee07df

    A Vox article digs into how simply taking the meeting could be a violation of federal election law covering foreign contributions to US elections. This isn’t collusion. It’s soliciting contributions from a foreign entity. Whether or not anything ultimately changed hands doesn’t matter. The meeting itself constitutes solicitation.

    “The most recent [developments] are especially significant because they include specific statements on the record conceding the Trump campaign’s expressed interest in what the Russians could provide,” Bob Bauer, White House counsel for Barack Obama from 2010 to 2011, writes at Just Security. “Those statements show intent — a clear-cut willingness to have Russian support — and they reveal specific actions undertaken to obtain it.”

    This quote is from an Obama lawyer, but the legal issues remain the same. The result will be MORE lines of questioning for the various investigations to pursue.

    The White House claimed today that Trump just learned of this meeting. That sets up yet another opportunity for perjury. Do you REALLY think that Kushner, Manafort, and DT jr. would take a meeting with a Russian offering dirt on the Clinton campaign and not let Trump know. If you DO believe that, then you have to ask yourself a different question. If it was as innocent as DT Jr. claimed it was, why WOULDN’T they have shared that information with Trump and asked his opinion about whether or not they should take the meeting? These guys aren’t stupid. At least Manafort knew exactly what they were doing. If they kept it from Trump it was BECAUSE they knew it was illegal. These are the questions that the American people deserve answered. Those answers will determine the future of the Trump presidency.

    Well if Chuck Schumar and Joe Biden had been given the opportunity to refuse a Bush Supreme Court nomination in Bushs last year they would have, using the same logic you are applying to Trump JR. (they said they would). You however lambast the cowardly McConnal for not giving Obamas guy a vote. I agree Trump JR made a lousy choice. Seemingly now you’ll agree either McConnell isn’t wrong or Biden and Schumar are just like McConnell.

    Miss your logic here. Perhaps you can work through it again. How does DT jr.’s violation of federal election law have anything to do with bad actors in Congress? The issue here is contact between the Trump campaign and Russians. We already know the Russians were meddling in the election. Now we know that the Trump campaign was willing to work with Russians if they had information that would help their campaign. We also now know that simply taking a meeting to discuss getting information from the Russians could violate federal election laws. So we don’t have to prove collusion. We just have to prove that the Trump campaign met with a Russian who was offering to help them defeat Clinton. As long as that meeting meets the legal definition of solicitation, somebody could be going to jail. Here’s that definition from the same Vox article.

    A solicitation is an oral or written communication that, construed as reasonably understood in the context in which it is made, contains a clear message asking, requesting, or recommending that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value.

    The “anything of value” was dirt on Clinton. DJ jr. already admitted that meeting didn’t go any further because it became clear to them that this lawyer DIDN’T have what they were looking for. That means that they WERE looking for “something of value” from the Russians. They just didn’t get it in this particular meeting. That’s solicitation.

    The reason, again, why this is important is that powerful people don’t like going to jail. When a prosecutor has an opportunity to send someone to jail, they have leverage. That leverage is usually sufficient to convince someone to tell the truth. As long as there is someone who is willing to tell the truth, then the whole fabric of a lie can generally be unraveled. Whether or not Kushner and DT Jr. are willing to take the fall for Trump doesn’t matter as long as Manafort is willing to talk.

    On the whole collusion thing I dont know. I also don’t know what it means if they did. I know I wouldnt like it.

    Are you serious. If there was proof of collusion, you would simply be unhappy? What about investigating those who may be guilty of breaking laws? Shouldn’t that happen? What about bringing a bill of impeachment if it turns out that Trump knew of and approved these illegal activities and took an active role in suppressing the investigations into these activities? Shouldn’t this investigation uncover ALL the truth regardless of who it involves?

    Here’s a question. How much do you read and hear in the media of how many of Trumps agenda items from the campaign has he been able to accomplish?

    What HAS he accomplished other than trading a the filibuster rule for SCOTUS appointment? By accomplished I mean a law passed. He has written a bunch of executive orders which have undone some of the Obama administration infrastructure. I don’t count those as accomplishments until they have passed legal muster.

    Perhaps Tillerson has been able to do some good work in Russia regarding Syria. We don’t know yet what Russia was promised in return for their cooperation. I’m posting something about the Trump administration’s massive failure with North Korea. The temporary cease fire on Syria pales in comparison to the risks we face from North Korea.

    Maybe this, how much attention has been given to anything he’s actually done?

    Sorry but this media bias argument just doesn’t hold water. The media didn’t invent the DT Jr. meeting with Russians. They discovered it through good investigative journalism work. That’s what good journalists are supposed to do. The reason it is news is because the Trump administration chose to keep this meeting a secret. If they had come clean at the start of his administration with all the contacts that everyone had, things would have been much different.

    The Russian investigations are the result of actions that the Trump administration took. Here’s just one simple timeline. Trump administration ignores warnings about Flynn and denies that there were any contacts with any Russians. Flynn is fired when the press uncovers his Russian connections. Sessions lied during his confirmation hearing about contact with Russians. He is forced to recuse himself from any future Russian activities. Trump is unhappy that Comey doesn’t stop the Flynn investigations. He asks the Deputy AG to write up reasons to fire Comey. The Deputy AG writes a paper about the Clinton investigation. He fires Comey and says its because of the Deputy AG report. Deputy AG objects to being the fall guy. Trump then admits that he fired Comey because of the Russian investigations which immediately confirms suspicions of obstruction of justice. Comey, now a private citizen, starts telling his side of the story which confirms many of the suspicions regarding Trump motives. Deputy AG is forced to hire an independent counsel Mueller to look into the matter because the Justice Department is clearly compromised.

    How much of this was the fault of the press?

    Whether you believe there was actual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Trump administration continues to challenge the press to prove him wrong. They are happy to oblige. Trump thinks he is winning this particular battle, but the numbers suggest otherwise. The Trump administration’s FAILURE to come clean about their involvement with Russians is why there are investigations. The Trump administrations FAILURE to come clean also dominates the news cycle as news organizations continue to turn up new evidence that the Trump administration lied about past connections with Russia. This is the drip, drip, drip that I predicted. Trump has no one to blame but himself.

    IMHO, the only thing surprising to me about all of this is the number of Trump supporters who apparently don’t care.

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