Friday, March 31, 2017

From American Prospect: How California Hopes to Undo Trump

Since Jerry Brown became governor in 2011, 
he and the legislature enacted laws that expanded Medicaid
 so comprehensively that the percentage 
of uninsured Californians dropped 
from 19 percent to 7 percent. 
"America’s mega-state of California – inhabited by 1 out of 8 Americans, and, if it were a separate nation, the 7th largest economy in the world – is the center of the Trump resistance," according to Robert Reich.

"And California is about to take Trump on directly – on social insurance, climate change, and immigrant rights. The fight will spill over into the rest of America, fortifying the resistance nationally.

"California has more capacity, and desire, to defeat Trump than any institution in America.

"Good article, below, by Harold Meyerson." And I agree with that opinion. Here are the first few paragraphs:

"Spasms of fear often shake California, a state prey to earthquakes, fires, and floods. One such spasm—a manmade one—is shaking the state today.

"Business is down at groceries featuring Mexican and Central American food, and at other stores catering to an immigrant clientele. The possibility of stakeouts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents has led thousands of Angelenos to abbreviate their daily rounds.

"'Since Election Day, children are scared about what might happen to their parents,' says Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles. 'And parents for their children. We fill out at least ten guardianship letters every day for [undocumented] parents who fear for their [U.S. citizen] kids if they—the parents—are deported.'”

"The fear is rooted in the grim reality of the new president’s war on immigrants, and in the power that ICE possesses to wage that war. 'Sanctuary city, or sanctuary state, is a misleading term,' says State Senate President Kevin de León, who more than any other public official has emerged as the leader of California’s resistance. 'It creates the image of an invisible force field you’re safe behind, or reaching home base when you’re a kid playing tag. Actually, that force field doesn’t exist. If you’re undocumented, ICE can pick you up whether you’re in Paducah or liberal Santa Monica.' ICE can and does conduct sweeps in search of undocumented immigrants, and it doesn’t need a warrant to do so.

"All of which has made California’s undocumented—about 2.5 million, by recent estimates, fully one million of them in Los Angeles and Orange Counties—and their family members who are citizens, deeply and understandably fearful."

Reflecting the Majority:
These Los Angeles demonstrators are in sync with the
85 percent of Californians in a January poll who said
 they preferred giving legal status
to the undocumented rather than deporting them. 
How California Hopes to Undo Trump

By Harold Meyerson

Vice President Mike Pence Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders:

 Mike Pence Breaks Senate Tie
To Allow States To Defund Planned Parenthood

By Laura Bassett

Today [Thursday] Republicans continued their relentless war on women’s health. Despite opposition from two Republican senators and all Democrats, the Senate Republicans with the help of Vice President Mike Pence gave states the ability to defund family care provides like Planned Parenthood if they want to. Let’s be clear. This is not about protecting women’s health care. This will punish low-income women who depend on family planning providers for basic reproductive health services. Not only is this cruel but it is impractical. Our job is to keep fighting back against all attacks on women’s health.

Ironically, on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to receive The Independent Womens’ Forum’s Working for Women Award. However, Pence said due to current events and scheduling that he would not be able to attend the reception and ceremony. The award will be presented at a later time. He is being honored for bettering women’s economic rights.

The announcement drew harsh criticism from the ACLU and other progressive organizations. “As governor of Indiana, Pence signed into law some of the country’s strictest anti-abortion measures, and as a member of Congress, he repeatedly voted against federal equal-pay bills. He also drew national attention to his state over a religious-freedom law that many interpreted as anti-gay, leading to a backlash among major corporations and some prominent Republicans.

“An initial news release about the event said that the "Working for Women" award ‘recognizes an individual who values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society.’”

On Thursday, Pence cast the tie-breaking vote overturning an Obama administration rule that now will allow states to withhold Title X family planning money from Planned Parenthood.

"California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom sounded off on Facebook after Republican legislation letting states deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers squeezed narrowly through the Senate on Thursday. The legislation was rescued by an ailing GOP senator who returned to the Capitol after back surgery and a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence."

In a Facebook post, Gavin Newsom commented:

Yesterday: Pence led a forum on empowering women

Today: Pence led a group of males in a vote to strip access to birth control &cancer screenings.

The hypocrisy is astounding.

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Newsom shreds Pence over vote to block Planned Parenthood money

Dan Rather: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the most powerful address in the world

The latest Facebook post from Dan Rather:

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the most powerful address in the world. It can also at times feel like one of Earth's loneliest islands.

The nature of the modern American presidency ensures that the Commander in Chief must in many ways operate in a bubble. But when forces outside of that bubble start to swirl, and when they seem beyond the control of an administration, paranoia mounts and a presidency can quickly spiral out of control.

I have seen this happen up close, covering both Lyndon Johnson amidst the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon falling under the weight of Watergate. But there has never been anything quite like what we're witnessing with Donald Trump.

Both Johnson and Nixon were seasoned politicians and they were surrounded by Washington insiders who knew how the game was played. Both men had pulled off remarkable achievements to their agendas. And there were long stretches of stability in their administrations. We are just over two months into President Trump's term and already there is civil war in his own party in the wake of the health care debacle. His Muslim travel ban is suspended indefinitely, and then there is always the Russian shadow, which continues to become more serious, now with new allegations of White House interference. We have record low approval ratings and a White House that is understaffed and those who are there do not seem up to the task of governing.

As I wrote before, despite all the defeats, it would be foolish to underestimate the effect Mr. Trump is having on radically reshaping the direction of our nation, at home and abroad. But as he careens from one crisis to another, the chaos and havoc this President creates is engulfing himself as well. We have seen no evidence to suggest that this Administration can stabilize itself. There seems to be no ballast of seriousness or sober mindedness to right the ship. The list of enemies, perceived and real, will almost assuredly grow in Mr. Trump's mind. His Twitter rantings will likely further fan the flames of division and dissent. An Administration that feels cornered often lashes out in ways that are almost always more destructive to itself than to its targets.

The power of the Presidency is great, but for those who do not use it wisely it can create deep and dangerous self-inflicted wounds.

Commentary: General calls Iran 'destabilizing' force, suggests US 'disrupt' regime by military means

President Donald Trump is treading on dangerous territory in the Middle East. He is unnecessarily putting the United States at risk of another war. The cautionary approaches of former President Barack Obama are being ignored.

"A new war in the Persian Gulf could start accidentally—and would take a toll on U.S. forces," according to The American Conservative.

Nevertheless, the Senate "is poised to pass legislation that will place President Trump’s trigger-happy finger on the ignition switch of a deadly conflict with Iran."


Read it and weep (as they used to say): Here's the head of U.S. Central Command General Joseph Votel threatening to use "military means" against Iran. Keep an eye on this one. It may be the most dangerous military urge that the generals Trump has chosen have: they all have the desire to quite literally take out Iran, especially Secretary of Defense General "Mad Dog" Mattis.

"The nation's top military official in the Middle East on Wednesday said Iran is one of the greatest threats to the U.S. today and has increased its "destabilizing role" in the region.

"I believe that Iran is operating in what I call a gray zone," Commander of the U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, told the House Armed Services Committee in testimony Wednesday. "And it's an area between normal competition between states — and it's just short of open conflict."

"The general said Iran is exploiting this area in a variety of different ways, through things such as "lethal aid facilitation," the use of "surrogate forces" and cyber activities, among other things. He also believes Iran poses "the greatest long-term threat to stability" in the entire region.

"U.S. Central Command is responsible for U.S. security interests in an area stretching from the Persian Gulf region into Central Asia. It includes more than 80,000 soldiers on land, sea and air as well as the ongoing campaign to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"We need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt [Iran] through military means or other means their activities," he said. "We need to look at opportunities where we can expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing...."

Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander of the US Central Command, testifying Wednesday to the House Armed Services Committee about the security challenges in the Greater Middle East.

General calls Iran 'destabilizing' force, suggests US 'disrupt' regime by military means
By Jeff Daniels

Robert Reich's View: WSJ: Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

Robert Reich:

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution, according to this afternoon’s Wall Street Journal.

I see no reason why the Senate Intelligence Community shouldn’t grant Flynn’s request. It wouldn’t let Flynn off the hook. Congress has the power to grant only limited “testimonial” immunity -- which means prosecutors cannot use a witness’s testimony to Congress against them in any subsequent prosecution. If Flynn has some dirt on Trump, he ought to be given every opportunity to share it.

Ultimately it will be up to the Justice Department whether to grant Flynn immunity from prosecution for any underlying conduct that might be discussed, and other matters that don’t come up in testimony. Since Jeff Sessions has recused himself from matters relating to the FBI probe – and, presumably, related to Flynn’s possible collusion with Russian agents – the final decision on Flynn’s immunity will be up to the Deputy Attorney General.

The Acting Deputy Attorney General is Dana Boente, a longtime federal prosecutor and former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who stepped in when Trump fired Sally Yates in January.

Trump’s permanent pick for the position is Ron Rosenstein, currently the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland. Rosenstein seems to be a straight-shooter. He was unanimously confirmed as U.S. attorney in 2005 after being appointed by George W. Bush, and then retained by Obama. It would also be up to Rosenstein whether to appoint an independent special prosecutor to handle the question of Trump and Trump advisors colluding with the Russians.

Former national security adviser Mike Flynn in the East Room of the White House in February.

Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

By Shane Harris, Carol E. Lee and Julian E. Barnes

Thursday, March 30, 2017


On March 24, President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and the Republican Party failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Bernie Sanders said we won a huge victory, but we must remain vigilant. “Medicaid now provides medical care to four out of 10 American children. Every member of the Congress should understand just how important Medicaid is and we cannot allow Republicans to cut it. We must expand Medicaid and Medicare so that every person in America is guaranteed health care as a right, not a privilege.

“We have got to have the guts to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies and move forward toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program, and I’ll be introducing legislation shortly to do that.”

Even though in 2016 a Gallup poll found a majority of Americans do support federally funded national healthcare, and many influential groups support Sander’s single-payer proposal, “single-payer health insurance still lacks support from many, if not most, Democrats, let alone from the Republican lawmakers who control both chambers.”

Senator Jeff Merkley supports Senator Sander’s plan, putting forth the idea of lowering the medicare eligibility age, allowing medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, and offering Americans the option to buy into Medicare.

The Republican Party seldom proposes legislation that will equally benefit all Americans. The Republican Party promotes legislation benefiting the financial good of the wealthiest among us. As long as they hold the majority position in Congress, a creation of Medicare-for-all, a single-payer health care system, will not become a reality.

It requires a demand for health care, not health insurance. It requires us to remove the profit incentive out of health care. It requires us to demand comprehensive, affordable health care for all Americans. The only way to do that is to vote Republicans, who are not willing to support the effort, out of office in 2018.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By Daniel Marans


Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he fears Republicans are pushing President Trump to make good on his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Negotiating health care reforms with Democrats is “hardly a conservative thing. I don’t want government running health care. The government shouldn’t tell you what you must do with your life, with your health care,” Ryan said.

The latter, however, is paradoxical to his willingness to tell Americans what they must do in other areas of their life. For example on the issue of abortion.

Ryan’s refusal to work with Democrats on healthcare is a longstanding position held by Republicans. It’s the reason they were the party of “no” during the Obama years. It is the reason they now will fail.

6 big lessons from the Republican’s failure to replace the Affordable Care Act:

1. Trump is a lousy dealmaker. He blundered into a political fiasco, apparently believing he could win over recalcitrant Republican members of Congress simply by popping over to Capitol Hill.

2. Paul Ryan is an even worse rightwing ideologue than we knew. He came up with a truly awful bill that couldn’t be justified on any ground at all. It just shifted $600 billion from the poor and working class to the rich.

3. Republicans don’t know how to govern. They’ve been out of power so long all they can do is oppose. They lack the mental and emotional capacities to craft and sell large-scale initiatives that advance the public good.

4. When it comes to health-care policy, there is no workable conservative alternative to the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the only workable alternative at all is a single-payer healthcare plan, which present-day Republicans couldn’t possibly stomach.

5. Americans need and want maternity coverage, mental-health benefits, prescription drugs, pediatric services, lab tests, and the other things included on the list of essential health benefits under the Act. When moderate Republicans in places like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania heard that these services might be eliminated under the amended legislation, they abandoned it in significant numbers. It was their desertion that ultimately killed the bill.

6. The larger lesson here is that conservatism failed and social democracy won. Most Americans fall into the latter camp, even though the people who run our government don't.

Photograph By Drew Angerer / Getty
By John Cassidy 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Donald, you said you could shake up Washington and make it work again. Instead, you’re the one who got worked over.

Writing for the N.Y. Times, Maureen Dowd’s latest op-ed is an open letter critical of the presidency of Donald Trump.

It’s a well written, pointed, and interesting read.

CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

By Maureen Dowd


Republicans Are Afraid Of Losing a Government Shutdown Showdown.
By Burgess Everett And Rachael Bade

Not surprisingly, chances are the President’s “beautiful wall” along our border with Mexico will not be built.

There will be no money in the budget for the wall. If Republicans include money for the wall in the government funding bill, Democrats will block the legislation. Fortunately, “the GOP [is] consumed by its own divisions, the White House and Hill Republicans will have to rely on Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown next month [April 28 funding deadline] in what would be another disaster for Trump’s fledgling presidency.”

Republicans are considering a plan that would not tie the wall money with the funding bill. But they are concerned over a possible government shutdown showdown with Democrats.

“While no decision has been made by GOP leadership, Republican lawmakers may decide to decouple the two to avoid a confrontation with Democrats. If they do, the chances of getting Trump’s wall funding passed this spring become slim.”


Dan Rather issued a warning for those who are intent on resisting the Presidency of Donald Trump and his plan to destroy our democracy: “Nobody said it was going to be easy.”

The power to decimate and destroy is a lot easier than the energy it takes to build. That is the early lesson of the Trump Presidency.

I recently posted an analysis and commentary piece about the stumbling start of Mr. Trump just a little over two months into office - possibly the worst of any president in American history. I stand by that post.

With that in mind, it is worth noting that President Trump has had what he and some of his most avid supporters call “successes.” His adversaries would call them by different names, but the effect is the same. Mr. Trump is putting his mark on the very workings of our democracy.

By any objective analysis, to argue that Mr. Trump has been almost totally ineffective (ineffective, as he would define it,) that he has done little, is not true. Yes, his leadership has been chaotic and his poll numbers--at historic lows from the beginning --have been slipping. You can argue that most of what he’s done is destructive for the country’s future and that the debacle of trying to change the Affordable Care Act has earned him the title of “Loser.”

But Mr. Trump is using the power of the Presidency to enact the most dramatic elimination of government regulations since the Reagan years. For example, many rules for protecting the environment have been decimated, as have rules affecting workplace safety. He’s made it easier for mentally disturbed people to get guns and has made it easier for coal mining interests to pollute streams and rivers. He has waged war on the very structure of our Federal departments and agencies. What will happen to the State Department, our scientific research, education initiatives, women’s rights, the Environmental Protection Agency, and so many more. He is embracing a very extreme vision of governmental power, channeling his top aide Steve Bannon. This is a threat to how Democrats and Republicans--and the country as a whole-- have traditionally seen government especially on foreign policy.

In sum, he set out to destroy or disable much of the government as we have known it through Republican and Democratic administrations for almost a century. And he’s laid quite a bit of groundwork for that.

The full effect of this will take time. There is a lot of entrenchment and inertia in our governmental function. There will be lawsuits and legislative fights, petition drives and protests. Which should be a wake up call for all who oppose Mr. Trump’s agenda, who are appalled at the tone, character and substance of the Trump Presidency so far.

It’s a reminder of how much diligence, hard work and organizing it is going to take to stop or even slow him. All the while the importance of the 2018 Congressional elections looms ever larger. Nobody said it was going to be easy, and nobody is right.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is not concerned about a new PwC research report indicating more than a third of Americans could lose their jobs to automation by the early 2030s.

Mnuchin is turning a blind eye to the fact that technological advancements in computerized automation and robotics have been increasingly replacing jobs in every sector of our economy. Following World War II, changes in the global economy and advancing technology gradually transitioned American workers from manufacturing to service related work. Now, advances in automation are replacing service sector jobs.

From robotic chefs and waitstaff in restaurants to robotic automobile production to automated banking and very sophisticated robotic surgical procedures, computerization and robotics have taken over many middle-class jobs and will continue to replace others as we gain greater knowledge, and more innovative and improved technologies will be created. Specialized artificial intelligence applications will also make high-ended and highly skilled professional jobs scarce.

Here is what Robert Reich has to say:

In reference to a question about artificial intelligence displacing American workers, Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s secretary of the Treasury, said "I think that is so far in the future — in terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs — I think we're, like, so far away from that [50 to 100 years], that it is not even on my radar screen.”


According to reasonable estimates I’ve seen, within the next 10 years self-driving cars will have eliminated 4.5 million commercial driving jobs.

Within the next 6 years, artificial intelligence will have eliminated at least 4 million retail jobs.

Within the next decade, artificial intelligence will have eliminated 6 million jobs in health care and education.

The list goes on.

The fact that these aren't on the Secretary of the Treasury's radar screen makes me worry about the quality of his radar. He needs better intelligence about artificial intelligence.

By Harriet Taylor


President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.” According to the Washington Post.

Trump will name his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to run a new Office of American Innovation, described as a "SWAT team of strategic consultants staffed by former business executives," designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington and make government work more like a business.

Kushner said "Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”

It's good to have fresh thinking about how government can function more efficiently. But government is not a business, and citizens aren't customers.

The purpose of government is not to show a profit; it is to achieve the common good.

Precisely because there are many different views about the common good, the Framers of the Constitution created a system that checks and balances power among three branches of government, and shares power with the states. Their goal was to avoid tyranny.

They wanted leaders who enriched and strengthen democracy -- building trust in democratic institutions, telling the truth, avoiding conflicts of interest, not favoring relatives, and promoting tolerance and social cohesion.

So far, Donald Trump has done the opposite.

He doesn’t need advice about how to turn government into a business. He needs advice about how to lead a democracy.

By Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker

Monday, March 27, 2017


When people get in trouble with being uncaring and unkind, it usually involves religion, interactions over money, or politics. It’s usually about our religious differences and whether we are a country that does or does not recognize one’s same personal view of God or whether we believe it’s necessary to take care of people who need help or not. It’s the reason why our country is so divided. It’s the reason Donald Trump is President of the United States. His election, in too many ways, caused us to hate rather than love each other.

Get rid of all these three evils and we will be a kind and a gracious world. In such a world a Donald Trump would not exist.

To the extent “We Really Do Care for One Another” is just a good sounding story, anecdotal stories that never actually happened. They are, nevertheless, in essence,  true to life.

I too have had personal experiences with “ . . . moments of common, gracious, human kindness.”  It does keep me optimistic about who we authentically are.

Please give it a read.

By Charles Bayer

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Many people are horrified, and rightly so, by what passes for leadership in today’s Washington. And it’s important to keep the horror of our political situation up front, to keep highlighting the lies, the cruelty, the bad judgment. We must never normalize the state we’re in.

Krugman isn't writing about President Donald Trump although it surely applies to the President as well. Ryan is referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan and his "fraudulence, lack of concern for those he claims to care about and lack of policy coherence."

The American Health Care Act, Trump and Ryan's replacement for Obamacare "is one of the worst bills ever presented to Congress."

Ryan's budget proposals, while differing in detail, all “share a family resemblance: Like his health plan, each involved savage cuts in benefits for the poor and working class, with the money released by these cuts used to offset large tax cuts for the rich. All were, however, sold on false pretenses as plans for deficit reduction.”

“There’s an important lesson here, and it’s not just about health care or Mr. Ryan; it’s about the destructive effects of false symmetry in reporting at a time of vast asymmetry in reality.

“This false symmetry — downplaying the awfulness of some candidates, vastly exaggerating the flaws of their opponents — isn’t the only reason America is in the mess it’s in. But it’s an important part of the story. And now we’re all about to pay the price.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017


House Speaker Paul Ryan, in his press conference following the demise of his bill to replace Obamacare, blamed Republicans who had failed to grasp that the GOP was now a “governing party.”

“We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do,” said Ryan. “You just had to be against it. Now, in three months’ time, we tried to go to a governing party where we actually had to get 216 people to agree with each other on how we do things.” It was, he said, “the growing pains of government.”


Apparently Ryan still doesn’t grasp that he put forward a terrible bill to begin with, which would have resulted in 24 million Americans losing health coverage over the next decade, hardly make a dent in the federal debt, and transfer over $600 billion to the wealthiest members of American society.

The so-called “Freedom Caucus” of House Republicans, who refused to go along with the bill, wanted it to be even worse. Essentially, their goal (and that of their fat-cat patrons) was to repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it at all.

Ryan is correct about one thing. Congress is in the hands of Republicans who for years have only said “no.” They have become expert at stopping whatever a president wants to do but they don’t have a clue how to initiate policy.

But their real problem isn’t the “growing pains” of being out of power. In reality, the Republicans who are now control the House – as well as the Senate – don’t like government. They’re temperamentally and ideologically oriented to opposing it, not leading it.

Their chronic incapacity to govern didn’t reveal itself as long as a Democrat was in the White House. They let President Obama try to govern, and pretended that their opposition was based on a different philosophy governing.

Now that they have a Republican president, they can no longer hide. They have no philosophy of governing at all.

Sadly for them – and for the rest of the country, and the world – the person they supported in the election of 2016 and who is now president is an unhinged narcissistic child who has no capacity to lead.

MSN: Trump’s Misleading Claims on the Health Bill Failure

Speaking from the Oval Office Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump addressed the failure of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legislation to repeal and replace the health care law known as Obamacare.

In his typical way, Trump’s explanation was made up of falsehoods, denials, exaggerations, and misleading information regarding the failure of the American Health Care Act.

MSN provides a reasonable assessment of Trump’s claims:

© Al Drago/The New York Times 
President Trump, with Tom Price,
the secretary of health and human services, spoke Friday
 from the Oval Office after the Republicans pulled
their health bill before a vote.
By Linda Qiu


Last night Trump delivered what he and his surrogates are calling an “ultimatum” to House Republicans: Vote Friday on the bill to repeal (and replace a little bit of) the Affordable Care Act. If the bill fails, Trump will move on.

This is nonsensical braggadocio, designed to minimize what seems likely to be Trump’s embarrassing failure to deliver on the biggest legislative promise he’s made so far. Presidential power is based on the perceived ability to deliver. So far, Trump has delivered exactly nothing of his congressional agenda.

He campaigned as a deal maker. He can’t make a deal. He campaigned as a businessman who could whip government into shape. He can’t even whip his own White House into shape. He campaigned as someone who would drain the swamp of Washington. He’s only made it swampier.

Trump is a loser.

In a single week, Donald Trump has been proven:

(1) Incompetent. His first major legislative goal – repealing and “replacing” the Affordable Care Act -- just went down in flames.

(2) A liar. FBI Director James Comey said the FBI has “no evidence” to support Trump’s trumped-up charge that Barack Obama wiretapped or otherwise monitored Donald Trump.

(3) The subject of an FBI investigation into possible collusion with Russian operatives to win the 2016 presidential campaign. Comey also said that by last July the FBI had accumulated enough “credible evidence” of such collusion begin its investigation.

It was not just a bad week for Trump. It also was an “Emperor’s New Clothes” week. Trump’s braggadocio has now been revealed as a total sham. He’s incompetent, he’s a liar, and he may well be a traitor.

Apart from his most ardent supporters, most of America is now waking up to the walking catastrophe who is now our president. That’s progress.

The House abandoned its legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, handing President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan a major defeat.

By Russell Berman 

Friday, March 24, 2017


On Friday, President Donald Trump failed. House Speaker Paul Ryan failed. The health care plan they pushed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) failed.

Trump blamed Democrats for the defeat. It was, however, conservative republicans who believed the legislation did not go far enough, and moderate republicans who thought too many Americans would lose their health care, face significant new costs, and face barriers to care, who did not vote for the legislation.

The legislation, for now, has been shelved. Obamacare remains the law of the land. Trump said Obamacare will “explode” because of high premiums and the Democrats would seek a deal within a year. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan conceded, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

Obamacare needs repair. Just about everyone agrees. Obama’s signature health care legislation was expected to be improved over time. Democrats have said the want to work with Republicans to make the improvements. Perhaps now Democrats and Republicans will work together, not to repeal and replace, but to improve on what already exist for the benefit of all Americans.

Robert Reichs comment:

Here's Trump's lame attempt to save face: “I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal," he told the Washington Post this afternoon. "And they will come to us; we won’t have to come to them. The beauty is that they own Obamacare… . The biggest losers today are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own the disaster known as Obamacare.”


1. The Affordable Care Act won’t explode. As the Congressional Budget Office concluded in its report last week, the Act is not in a “death spiral.” As premiums rise, subsidies also rise. So the 80 percent of beneficiaries who already receive subsidies won't be hurt at all. If premiums continue to rise, many in the remaining 20 percent will also qualify for subsidies.

2. In any event, whatever happens to the Affordable Care Act from now on, it's not Democrats who “own” it. Republicans own it. Hell, they run the entire government. They had a chance to come up with a replacement for the Act. They utterly failed. So now its theirs.

Here is Dan Rather’s take:

Stunning. A complete defeat that I don't think anyone would have predicted in the manner that took place. Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare on day one of his presidency. He promised a health care nirvana of lower premiums, choice and better care. The GOP have been demonizing the Affordable Care Act for 7 years and yet here we are. The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. Who knew healthcare was hard?

The morass of blame is only beginning. As he just told New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, this is "the Democrats fault." We'll see how that plays with the public and with history. Mr. Trump is wounded and he will try to do his usual two step of taking credit for everything and blame for nothing. It is a dance that I think was already old for a majority of Americans. And if recent polls are to be believed even some of his voters are getting weary. And let's remember we are just over two months into his presidency.

I have never seen such a staggering loss so early in a term. We have long left charted waters with this administration. And our ship of state bobs amidst ominous waves.

The damage isn't limited to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Many Democrats never understood Paul Ryan's golden boy wonk status. But that aura has also been deeply and perhaps irrevocably tarnished by this health care failure. And the difficulty was expected to be in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Russian shadow continues to darken.

By Stephen Collinson, Dana Bash, Phil Mattingly, Deirdre Walsh, Lauren Fox and MJ Lee, CNN