Suspected Russia propagandists on Facebook tried to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during last year’s election, The Daily Beast has learned.
The demonstrations—at least one of which was promoted online by local pro-Trump activists— brought dozens of supporters together in real life. They appear to be the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump.
The Aug. 20, 2016, events were collectively called “Florida Goes Trump!” and they were billed as a “patriotic state-wide flash mob,” unfolding simultaneously in 17 different cities and towns in the battleground state. It’s difficult to determine how many of those locations actually witnessed any turnout, in part because Facebook’s recent deletion of hundreds of Russian accounts hid much of the evidence. But videos and photos from two of the locations—Fort Lauderdale and Coral Springs—were reposted to a Facebook page run by the local Trump campaign chair, where they remain to this day.
“On August 20, we want to gather patriots on the streets of Floridian towns and cities and march to unite America and support Donald Trump!” read the Facebook event page for the demonstrations. “Our flash mob will occur in several places at the same time; more details about locations will be added later. Go Donald!”
The Florida flash mob was one of at least four pro-Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton demonstrations conceived and organized over a Facebook page called “Being Patriotic,” and a related Twitter account called “march_for_trump.” (The Daily Beast identified the accounts in a software-assisted review of politically themed social-media profiles.)
Being Patriotic had 200,000 followers and the strongest activist bent of any of the suspected Russian Facebook election pages that have so far emerged. Events promoted by the page last year included a July “Down With Hillary!” protest outside Clinton’s New York campaign headquarters, a September 11 pro-Trump demonstration in Manhattan, simultaneous “Miners for Trump” demonstrations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in October, and a pro-Trump rally outside Trump Tower last November, after his election victory.
Watts, the former FBI agent and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, noted that “plausible deniability is built into any Russian active-measures strategy,” such as using troll farms in St. Petersburg or Macedonia to conceal influence campaigns. But compelling unsuspecting Americans to gather in the streets on behalf of Trump shows the reach and efficacy of those efforts.
The page earned such a large following, a known Macedonian fake news distributor, Nikola Tanevski, purchased BeingPatriotic.com this year, but the page is currently dormant. Tanevski runs popular, pro-Trump fake news factories USATwentyFour.com and TheAmericanBacon.com. Attempts to reach Tanevski did not receive a response.
The layers of deception went beyond Facebook posts and manufactured rallies. When it wasn’t organizing events, Being Patriotic encouraged violence against minorities in incendiary posts. “Arrest and shoot every sh*thead taking part in burning our flag! #BLM vs #USA,” Being Patriotic’s Twitter account posted in April 2016, using the hashtag for the Black Lives Matter protest movement.
The account also advertised a toll-free “Being Patriotic Hotline” to report instances of voter fraud on Election Day.
“Detected a voter fraud? Tell us about it! Call 888-486-8102 or take photo/video and send it to us,” the account wrote on Nov. 8. Being Patriotic’s sister account, @March_for_Trump, plugged the same phone number, as well as a hotline for the “Trump Lawyer Team.” The number is now disconnected.
When asked for comment, the White House referred The Daily Beast to the Trump campaign, which, in turn, did not respond to emailed questions. But Susie Wiles, who served as Trump’s campaign manager in Florida, told The Daily Beast that the Broward County portion of the flash mob “was not an official campaign event.”
That’s despite the fact that the event was promoted on “Official Donald J. Trump for President Campaign Facebook Page for Broward County, Florida.” Photos and videos of the demonstration were posted there afterward.
When emailed the link to the Facebook posting, Wiles told The Daily Beast: “There are groups such as this across the state—and maybe other places, too. Groups of people get together and establish a presence such as this but it is unaffiliated with the campaign, per se. The photos ring no bells with me.”
Wiles also said that the Trump campaign’s purported Broward County Facebook page, which markets itself as being “official,” was not set up by the campaign.
“The Donald Trump campaign did not set these Facebook pages up,” she told The Daily Beast. “Rather, supporters (like the lady registered as the contact) set them up to support the campaign and subsequently the president.”
The “lady” registered as the contact is Dolly Trevino Rump, the Trump campaign’s chairwoman for Broward County who, until this April, was also the secretary of the local Republican Party. The Miami Herald described her as “perhaps Broward’s most famous Donald Trump fan.” Rump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast. Neither did the chairman of the Broward County Republican Party.
The Being Patriotic event listings for its Florida flashmobs included the names and phone numbers of people listed as local volunteer coordinators. When contacted by The Daily Beast, two of those coordinators vaguely recalled the events taking place, but not much else.
Betty Triguera, who was listed as a coordinator for a gathering in Sarasota, Florida, told The Daily Beast that she recalled but didn’t attend the event.
“We got the information from it on Twitter but I didn’t go,” Triguera said unable to remember other details.
Jim Frische, who was listed as a coordinator for an event in Clearwater, Florida, told The Daily Beast that he was called about organizing an event and put one together.
He said he was unsure if it was organized by the campaign.
“I don’t recall the group’s name,” Frische said. “I know somebody called and said would you organize something so I put together a group. “I remember doing it and I think we had a dozen or so people out on the street corner. I remember afterward hearing it had happened all over the state.”
I don't suppose his cult will ever admit they were manipulated by a foreign government's propaganda. But it's clear they were. And I'm going to guess it won't be too hard to do it again. Whether they decide it shoud be on Trump's behalf or someone else is the big question. Right now, the Republicans seem to be very sure that this will continue to benefit them in the future. I wonder why?
Jeff Sessions should never have accepted the position of Attorney General of the United States. His leadership has proven unproductive and ineffectual.
There are two reasons for this.
First, he deceived President Trump by concealing his intent to recuse himself from the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Hours after he was sworn in, Sessions began setting his recusal in motion by meeting with Department of Justice officials to discuss stepping aside from the probe. Failing to disclose such a material matter to the president was an egregious betrayal.
Trump was reportedly disgusted and angry with Sessions when he learned of the recusal – rightly so. “If he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have picked someone else,” said Trump at a news conference. The president was entitled to know the truth, but Sessions actively hid it from him. Sessions’ deception deprived him of Trump’s confidence and trust which are essential to the job of Attorney General. This ethical impropriety renders him unfit to serve.
Second, Sessions appears either incapable or incompetent. He has resisted producing the documents relevant to the anti-Trump dossier which were subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee. He has failed to appoint a special counsel to reopen the case against Hillary Clinton for likely violations of the Espionage Act in the use of her email server, obstruction of justice for destroying 33,000 emails under congressional subpoena, and potential self-dealing for profit through her foundation. The evidence is compelling.
Moreover, Sessions has taken no action to investigate the unmasking of Trump aides during intelligence surveillance by the Obama Administration. Evidence continues to mount that the incoming president was spied upon for political reasons. Transition officials were unmasked, perhaps illegally. And in one case, the unmasking was leaked to the media which is a crime. Yet Sessions is twiddling his thumbs.
And why hasn’t Sessions investigated the possible criminal conduct of James Comey? The fired FBI Director appears to have falsely testified before Congress, stolen government documents, and leaked them to the media.
Jeff Sessions may have been a fine Senator, but he has proven to be a feckless Attorney General. He should resign. But before he does, he can attempt to rectify the wreckage he has wrought by initiating several necessary criminal investigations and/or appointing a special counsel to do so.
If you tune in to Fox these days, this is a huge story. They are talking about it 24/7. Perhaps there's nothing to worry about but I can't help but recall the study about Fox News being so influential that it accounts for several GOP victories over the past 20 years.
And e know that there's one 71 year old white Republican who tunes in every single day.
I have spent the bulk of 2017 writing about the different Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Graham-Cassidy, in my view, is the most radical of them all.
While other Republican plans essentially create a poorly funded version of the Affordable Care Act, Graham-Cassidy blows it up. The bill offered by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy takes money from states that did a good job getting residents covered under Obamacare and gives it to states that did not. It eliminates an expansion of the Medicaid program that covers millions of Americans in favor of block grants. States aren’t required to use the money to get people covered or to help subsidize low- and middle-income earners, as Obamacare does now.
Plus, the bill includes other drastic changes that appeared in some previous bills. Insurers in the private marketplace would be allowed to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, for example. And it would eliminate the individual mandate as other bills would have, but this time there is no replacement. Most analysts agree that would inject chaos into the individual market.
Taken together, these components add up to a sweeping proposal sure to upend the American health care system. Because the Senate hasn’t seen an independent analysis yet from the Congressional Budget Office, I can’t even say for sure how sweeping, and neither can any of the Republicans who have come out in support of it.
’m not the only one drawing this conclusion. The credit agency Fitch Ratings recently described Graham-Cassidy as “more disruptive” than the other Republican repeal bills. Edwin Park, a policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says that Graham-Cassidy is “more radical in the sense that you’re eliminating wholesale the marketplace subsidies and the Medicaid expansion.”
Robert Laszewski, a health consultant who is generally critical of the Affordable Care Act, says that “passage of this bill would create enormous market uncertainty.”
The Graham-Cassidy bill has, so far, received far less attention than the last bill the Senate considered in July or the one the House took up in May. But the reality is that this quiet bill would be far more disruptive.
They don't just want to repeal Obamacare. Apparently, they now want to take down the entire health care system.
Here's just one example of how they are going to throw the entire health care system into chaos. They plan to specifically punish people in states that have worked hard to get people covered:
Graham-Cassidy introduces an entirely novel funding mechanism for distributing this funding: moving money from states that have worked aggressively to expand coverage to those that have made little effort at all. It creates a funding formula that is meant to give states “more equal” health care funding, tethered to the size of their population.
Perversely, this punishes the states that have expanded coverage the most, either by expanding Medicaid or by getting a lot of people signed up for the marketplace (and thus have higher marketplace subsidies flowing into their state).
This, again, is something we do not see in the other Republican bills. No other bills contemplated simply taking money from Ohio, which expanded Medicaid, and sending it to Virginia, which didn’t.
Look, for example, at what happens in Florida, a state that hasn’t expanded Medicaid but has worked diligently to get its residents enrolled in marketplace coverage. Florida has signed up more of its Obamacare-eligible residents for coverage than any other state. It has the biggest marketplace in the country, and its residents received $5.8 billion in Obamacare tax credits in 2016.
What reward does Florida get in Graham-Cassidy for expanding coverage so dramatically? A $2.6 billion budget cut. And again, this happens specifically because Florida has signed up so many people for Obamacare coverage and thus its residents receive a generous amount of health law tax credits.
The idea of expressly cutting funding for states that have done the best at getting their residents coverage doesn’t show up in any other health care plan except Graham-Cassidy.
They want to ram this through with no hearings, no expert testimony (not even the health care lobbyists) and no CBO score to show how it will effect actual people and how much it will end up costing.
And there's a fairly good chance it will pass. They are only a handful of votes short --- the same people as last time except Dean Heller of Nevada who has apparently been convinced that killing his own constituents is the only way for him to get re-elected.
If one were to believe Donald Trump's speech before the United Nations, in his short tenure as president he has already fixed the domestic problems he outlined in his "American Carnage" inaugural address and is now prepared to apply his methods to the rest of the planet. One might even call this speech "Global Carnage." Trump described a Hobbesian world in which decent countries everywhere are under assault from "small regimes" trying to undermine their sovereignty and destroy their ways of life. Or, as he elegantly phrased it: "Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell."
This was very much the way he described America on the day he was sworn in. It too was a desolate, dystopian hellscape of smoldering ruins and abandoned cities, where bands of foreigners and gangsters roamed the land, raping and pillaging and leaving carnage in their wake. He promised to take the country back (reclaim its sovereignty, if you will) from people who were trying to impose their values and culture on the Real Americans. He told the world on Tuesday morning that he had largely accomplished that task.
Contrary to popular belief among the chattering classes, the people who loved his promise to "make America great again" were undoubtedly pleased to see him pledge to get the world in order as well. Trump was saying that it's none of America's business how you treat your own citizens (unless it interferes with business), and we are not going to honor any international treaties, laws or institutions that we don't like. But that doesn't mean other countries can do the same. We are a sovereign nation but we are also the richest and strongest superpower on earth, and we will decide when and where other people are allowed to exercise control over their own countries.
Not that the president said any of that explicitly, of course. He waxed on about sovereignty and the sanctity of the nation-state, even as he blathered unconvincingly about the greatness of the United Nations. But when it came to specifics, he made it quite clear that he defines what "sovereignty" actually means.
For instance, Trump declared that America did not "expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government" but denounced Cuba and Venezuela for their "failed" socialist economic systems. He called out Iran for human rights violations and support for terrorist organizations, while praising Saudi Arabia and ignoring its abysmal human rights record, as well as the monarchy's longtime support for what might well be called "radical Islamic terrorism."
Trump extolled the Marshall Plan, the United States' rebuilding of Europe after World War II, in the same breath as he complained about the U.S. paying for too much of the UN's operations. (He did say that if the UN would just get on with creating world peace it would be a worthwhile investment.) He careened wildly from some warped form of principled realism to threats of mass annihilation and back again.
This statement, which will be remembered for a long time, encompasses it all:
"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United Nations is for. Let's see how they do."
Yes, "hopefully it will not be necessary" to kill millions of innocent people. That would be a real bummer, especially for a nation that has such respect for other nations' sovereignty.
He demanded that North Korea "denuclearize" and said that ensuring that outcome is what "the United Nations is all about." He wants to "see how they do," as if the U.S. is merely an observer of that whole process while pondering whether it's necessary to obliterate an entire country.
It doesn't occur to Trump that by unilaterally withdrawing, for no good reason, from agreements the U.S. has made with other sovereign nations, he has helped create this problem. The world now believes that no agreement the U.S. signs is worth the paper it's written on -- which also means there's no point in making "deals" with Trump or any other president. He's basically made clear that America is completely untrustworthy.
Nor does Trump seem to understand that when nations like Iran and North Korea see the president of the United States issuing bellicose threats to kill all their people and destroy their country, they logically assume that having nuclear weapons at their disposal might be the only way to deter him. Apparently nobody in the U.S. government has the capacity to rein him in. What choice do they have?
Interestingly, with all of his bellicose saber-rattling against "small regimes," the president forgot one flagrant example of a major country interfering in the internal affairs of another nation. That, of course, would be the Russian interference in the U.S. presidential campaign of 2016. It also slipped his mind that Russia recently staged a military incursion into neighboring Ukraine -- but then, he has said more than once he thinks that's fine too. When it comes to Russia, there seems to be no limit to this president's tolerance.
We already knew that Trump's concern for the sovereignty of other nations was entirely contingent on his feelings about their leadership and whatever he heard most recently on "Fox & Friends." But it's still jarring to realize that he really doesn't even care about American sovereignty. As long as foreign actors interfere on his personal behalf he has no problem with it.
"America First" really means "Trump First." He is the sovereign, not the state or indeed the people (which is, at least notionally, the idea behind American democracy). Historically, that's the sort of arrogant assumption from which massive errors of judgment are made. Global carnage often follows.
Even as millions of consumers grapple with fallout from the Equifax data breach, Republican lawmakers are quietly backing legislation to deregulate credit agencies and make them even less accountable for wrongdoing.
Bills are pending in Congress to limit class-action damages for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and to give credit agencies more latitude in profiting from identity theft protection products.
The legislation is part of sweeping efforts by Republican lawmakers to reduce oversight of banks and other financial-services firms, and to cripple or eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has notched a successful track record of holding industry players accountable for unfair and illegal practices.
Democrats, for their part, introduced a bill Friday — the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act — that would require credit agencies to allow people to freeze and unfreeze their files at no cost, and that calls upon the CFPB to play a greater role in overseeing the companies.
Consumer advocates say the Equifax breach should serve as a wake-up call for Americans that the three leading credit agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — are focused primarily on earning cash from people’s personal information, not keeping such information under lock and key.
“Consumers are not customers of these companies — they’re commodities,” said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. “We have no say over what they do with our data.”
Ironically, the Republicans’ credit agency bills came up for a hearing this month by the House Financial Services Committee on the same day Equifax revealed that hackers may have gained access to the credit files of 143 million people.
Equifax’s shocking announcement was followed by reports that senior execs sold off shares in the company before the breach was made public and that consumers might not be able to sue because of an arbitration clause in Equifax’s terms of service.
The company subsequently clarified that the arbitration provision applied only to its credit monitoring, not the security breach. It then waived the arbitration clause in its entirety. Meanwhile, it was reported Monday that federal authorities are investigating the stock sales as possible insider trading.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), who chaired the recent hearing by the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee, said the bills would “streamline regulatory requirements and eliminate inefficiencies” for credit agencies.
“The legislation discussed in the subcommittee today will better allow financial companies to serve their customers,” he declared.
Not really. What the legislation would do is reward credit agencies with greater regulatory elbow room and diminished accountability for screw-ups.
The FCRA Liability Harmonization Act is particularly noxious. Authored by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), the bill would cap actual and statutory damages for class actions involving credit agencies at $500,000, and completely eliminate punitive damages.
Loudermilk said Friday that his bill “is aimed at curbing frivolous class action lawsuits against businesses under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” which contains many of the rules for credit agencies.
When he introduced the legislation in May, he said that “a small technical error, turned into a lawsuit, can affect everyone in a business, including employees, customers and vendors.”
What Loudermilk ignores, however, is that a “small technical error” by a credit agency can have disastrous consequences for consumers — particularly if the agency, as is so often the case, shows little interest in fixing things.
Take the case of Oregon resident Julie Miller, who said she repeatedly reached out to Equifax from 2009 to 2011 to correct errors in her credit report. They included accounts she never opened, uncollected debts she never ran up and even a Social Security number that wasn’t hers.
Atlanta-based Equifax apparently had merged Miller’s file with that of another woman with the same name and a similar Social Security number. Yet the company shrugged off Miller’s complaints.
In 2013, a jury awarded Miller $180,000 in compensatory damages and a whopping $18.4 million in punitive damages, reflecting a sense among outraged jurors that Equifax just couldn’t be bothered to help a distressed consumer.
A federal judge subsequently reduced the amount of punitive damages to $1.62 million, citing the precedent of earlier cases. Nevertheless, U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown ruled that Equifax “engaged in reprehensible conduct.”
Under Loudermilk’s bill, Miller’s compensation would have been limited to the $180,000 in compensatory damages, with no punitive damages possible.
The second bill under consideration by the House is the Credit Services Protection Act, introduced by California’s Ed Royce (R-Fullerton). This one isn’t as shameless as Loudermilk’s legislation but nevertheless contains pitfalls for consumers.
The bill would undercut an existing law known as the Credit Repair Organizations Act, intended to prevent so-called credit repair firms from fleecing consumers with exaggerated promises of being able to boost a sagging credit score.
Among other things, the Credit Repair Organizations Act prevents such firms from demanding advance payments before rendering a service.
Royce’s legislation would exempt credit agencies from the act and allow them to demand payment upfront. They’d also be able to keep “reasonable value for services” even if the consumer cancels within three days.
In other words, a credit agency could still pocket a consumer’s cash just for having opened a file in that person’s name.
Perhaps they will be too embarrassed to push this thing through after the Equifax breach. But I wouldn't count on it. They live in an alternate universe with alternate facts and they will simply tel their voters that they fixed the problem and if they have a problem it's Obama's fault. And their voters will believe it.
On Tuesday, Kimmel said that "this new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test. With this one, your child with a preexisting condition will get the care he needs — if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed."
He called for Cassidy to stop using his name "cause I don't want my name on it."
Then he addressed Cassidy directly. "There's a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you, it's called the lie detector test. You're welcome to stop by the studio and take it anytime," he said.
Kimmel then posted his monologue on Twitter with the number for the Capitol Hill switchboard.
The Graham-Cassidy health bill in a nutshell, from the Washington Post Editorial Board:
The latest bill, from Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.), is about as execrable as the others that GOP lawmakers previously failed to approve. The process by which Republicans would pass it would be as sloppy and partisan as the one to which senators such as John McCain (R-Ariz.) objected earlier in the summer. The outcome would be no less destructive.
The gory details are as unimportant as they are limited. Even Vox has an explainer that doesn't explain a lot, details being so scant. It comes down to fewer Americans with insurance being "baked into the structure of the legislation."
Besides, "You could do a post office renaming and call it 'repeal-replace' and 48 Republican senators would vote for it sight unseen," one GOP aide told Axios.
Jimmy Kimmel minced no words in responding to Cassidy's last appearance on the show. Cassidy promised that any bill he would support had to pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test," which Kimmell summarized as "no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can't afford it." He went on:
“This new bill actually does pass the ‘Jimmy Kimmel test’, but a different ‘Jimmy Kimmel test.’” Kimmel continued. “With this one, your child with a preexisting condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel.”
If there is principle behind this rush job, it is good, old American, "every man for himself," as evinced in a tweet yesterday by CNBC’s John Harwood. White House economic adviser Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation provided the conservative view on this whole health care business:
Trump adviser Moore on unfairness of the healthy subsidizing the sick: "people want insurance for their own families, not other peoples' "
It is why In God We Trust is on the money because screw everyone else. Americans shouldn't rely on one another in Moore's America.
No doubt Moore has passed on his insights into how pooled risk works to even duller tools in the shed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But Graham, Cassidy, et. al. need no schooling. They know just what they are doing. Their bill redirects Affordable Care Act monies to Republican states that refused the Medicaid expansion under the ACA.
The authors of the bill probably thought that this was a clever wheeze, but it could end up backfiring. Some Republican-run states that did expand Medicaid stand to lose out, including Louisiana, Cassidy’s home. On Monday, Louisiana’s top health official, Rebekah Gee, wrote an open letter to Cassidy saying that his bill could cost the state $3.2 billion in federal funding through 2026, “making Louisiana the 8th biggest loser of those states affected by the Legislation, and by far the poorest and sickest state affected by these cuts.”
Indeed, Republican governors in states that did not are balking at Graham-Cassidy.
The Washington Post calls the proposal a "policy disaster."
One would think the western hemisphere has had enough natural ones this summer without Republicans creating more man-made ones. Mexico has had two earthquakes and three(?) tropical storms in the last month. The U.S. has had Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with Maria hitting Puerto Rico this morning to destroy what remains of the U.S. territory's power grid after Irma's visit. And all Republicans can think of is denying millions health care?
* * * * * * * *
Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.
Oh heck. Does this mean Trump's a Republican after all?
After all that nonsense abut Trump being an independent, transactional pragmatist who wants to work across the aisle because he has so much more in common with Chuck and Nancy and really "likes" them, it appears everyone just wanted the Democrats to take the heat for passing bills the wingnuts knew they needed to pass and now the Republicans are all on the same page again:
House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate, according to Trump administration and congressional sources, in a clear bid to boost the Senate's prospects of repealing the health law.
After Senate Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare in July, talks began on fixing the law rather than dismantling it. The dose of cold water from senior GOP officials will put pressure on Republican senators to back a last-ditch bill to gut Obamacare before a Sept. 30 deadline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed that approach publicly on Tuesday.
Republicans say that while the bipartisan talks between Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) initially seemed promising, many in the GOP fear providing money for Obamacare but offering little for conservatives — especially after Republican lawmakers have been throttled by President Donald Trump and the GOP base for failing to repeal the health law.
Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the Trump administration is all-in on the latest repeal effort, flying to Washington with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to deliver a message to the Senate GOP on repeal: "This is the moment. Now is the time," according to a pool report. Ryan and Trump called them during the plane ride as well.
Yeah, thinking the Republicans want to do anything in a bipartisan manner unless it's to benefit them and only them, is foolish. If they need to Dems to get something off the table that causes them problems with the base, fine. They can blame the hippies. But there is no other reason they will work with Democrats unless Democrats are ready to completely capitulate on every point. Even then, I'm not sure they wouldn't reject it.
This is really bad, people. Call McCain's office and lie your ass off. Tell him that you have admired him all your life and his legacy will be decided by him fulfilling his reputation as a maverick who doesn't play politics and a hero who always does the right thing. Say this whether you believe it or not.
Graham-Cassidy is objectively awful, and would be a death sentence for thousands. But there's more 1/ nyti.ms/2jH4VsZ via @UpshotNYT
President Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to "totally destroy" North Korea and its "Rocket Man" leader, warned the "murderous" Iranian government that it cannot endure, and declared that much of the world is "going to hell."
In his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Trump also urged nations to band together to fight "evil" — even as he extolled the virtue of respecting national sovereignty and insisted that America isn't looking to impose its "way of life" on others.
The at-times contradictory remarks were filled with soaring rhetoric that touched on everything from "God" to "chaos," and the dark tones were reminiscent of Trump's inaugural address, in which he promised to bring an end to "American carnage." The singling out of a handful of "rogue" nations also seemed to borrow from former President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech.
"The scourge of our planet today is small regimes that violate every principle [on which] the United Nations is based," Trump said. "They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph."
The rest of the world now believes that scourge of our planet is us.
I wish I understood why people persist in seeing his rhetoric as isolationist. He sounds to me like a Bond villain announcing that he seeks world domination. Of course he always issues disclaimers that he doesn't. But it's obvious that he believes the US has the right to dictate how the world works and has no respect for multilateral institutional or international law or treaties.
It's not the "madman" theory. It's the "Goldfinger theory." And that's not exactly he same thing.
Greg Sargent points out that Russia may sabotage the next election, too and asks, "What will Trump and Republicans do about it?" His piece points out that he hasn't done jack so far and there's little evidence that the Republicans in congress are taking the threat seriously either.
They don't want to do anything about it because they are laboring under the illusion that it will always help them. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. But unless it hurts them personally they are fine with it. After all, that's how they are with everything. Empathy is for losers and winning is for winners, period.
On Sunday night's Emmy awards show, many people were dismayed to see former Fox News chair Roger Ailes mentioned in the "In Memoriam" segment, given that he was a truly odious human being who ran a brothel that doubled as a news network for decades. His legacy is hardly confined to his reputation as a cable news pioneer and unique television talent.
I think the Emmys could have skipped the tribute, but there is no doubt that Ailes changed the face of television and was, not incidentally, one the most influential political figures of the last 50 years. We are all living in a political world at least partially created by Roger Ailes.
Dylan Matthews at Vox.com recently reported on a truly frightening study published in the American Economic Review showing that "the Fox News effect translates into a 0.46 percentage point boost to the GOP vote share in the 2000 presidential race, a 3.59-point boost in 2004, and a 6.34-point boost in 2008; the boost increases as the channel's viewership grew." The study's authors say this alone explains nearly "all the polarization in the US public's political views from 2000 to 2008." You have to assume that this effect only grew during the Obama years.
The other networks had no such effect in persuading people to vote Democratic. Indeed, during the early 2000s they moved right as well, although they didn't have much luck persuading anyone of anything. Whatever the secret sauce was in Ailes' formula, it didn't translate to any other entity. Ailes understood his audience and knew how to draw others into it.
So Fox is a hugely important feature of our political life. But it is also a hideous hellhole for women, as has been amply demonstrated by dozens of sexual harassment complaints against Ailes himself, as well as many of the network's top executives and on-air talent. On Monday, The New York Times reported that yet another woman, Scottie Nell Hughes, filed a lawsuit claiming that she was sexually assaulted by anchor Charles Payne and then blacklisted by the network after she came forward. The most shocking thing about that story is that it's not shocking. There are a few on-air female personalities who never complained but many who have, including such major stars as Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, both of whom left the network.
None of this dissuaded one female conservative star from joining the network, however:
DONE DEAL: LAURA INGRAHAM SIGNS CONTRACT WITH FOXNEWS...
Ingraham obviously has no problem with men committing sexual harassment in the workplace, since her own failing website Lifezette, originally billed as the right-wing answer to Huffington Post, is reportedly yet another abusive sexist cesspool and she apparently doesn't care.
Ingraham had been courted by the Trump administration for months and has apparently finally said no. You may recall that she gave a passionate endorsement of Trump at the Republican Convention and as one of talk radio's top anti-immigration zealots, fervently supported him in the election campaign. Immediately after the election, Trump very much wanted an attractive woman in the press secretary job and had offered it to her and later to Kimberly Guilfoyle of Fox News' "The Five."
Ingraham claimed to be considering joining the administration early on, saying, "If your country calls you, if God opens that door, you have to seriously consider it. If I can really help, it is hard to say no to that. If I think I can help, which I think I could." God opened the door but she closed it: "I’m not sure if that’s the role I would pick for myself, but I have a legal background, strategic, you know, political communications planning. I’m not sure the press secretary thing is something I’m dying to do.”
It was clearly beneath someone of her stature to do such a menial task. All those previous presidential press secretaries like Bill Moyers, George Stephanopoulos, Tony Snow and Jay Carney must have felt so embarrassed at having lowered themselves to that level. But it all paid off for Ingraham. She will now have a job that's truly worthy of her talent: nightly Fox News host.
This hire puts to rest any thought that Fox was going to shift to a less ultra-conservative editorial line after Ailes' departure and the toll of all the scandals. The network has lately seemed to be in perpetual turmoil, losing both their visionary leader and their biggest star, Bill O'Reilly (due to yet another sexual harassment scandal). While it has generally maintained its lead in the ratings, it has not been as dominant as it once was. Some people thought that with the rise of Breitbart and the direct supervision of Rupert Murdoch and his sons, the organization would change gears and become more mainstream. Ingraham's hire puts that notion to rest. There are very few people in the media business as hard right as she is.
Think Progress compiled just a few of her greatest hits:
I also recall her "comedic" riffs using the "yo quiero Taco Bell" commercial to demean child refugees at whom she railed, “Oh no, you won’t. This is our country. Our borders matter to us, our way of life and our culture matter to us, our jobs and our wages matter to us. No, you won’t.”
Laura Ingraham will now be on Fox for an hour every night, carrying on Roger Ailes' legacy, spreading all that ugly rhetoric to millions of people as the network has always done. But she'll really be speaking to one special Fox viewer, the man who records all his "programs" to watch late at night when he's alone: the president of the United States, for whom nothing is real if it isn't on TV. Laura Ingraham just became one of the most influential women in the world.