Monday Reads: Dysfunctional TrumpistanPosted: September 25, 2017
I’m going to just do a headline dump so you can see how dysfunctional we’ve become as a nation in a short seven months.
We have a President who panders to White Supremacists in the White House and resorts to racist dog whistles every chance he gets. He objectifies women. He admires dictators and ignores the rule of law. He has no diplomatic skills, no knowledge of any policy issue, and seems to have a bevvy of personality disorders. His only function seems to be to create dysfunction and divide us by creating crises where there should be none and not managing crises where there are ones. I’m exhausted and disgusted.
Donald Trump is the president America deserves.
He’s forcing the country to take the mask off, to confront its systemically oppressive ways, to deal with the fact that xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, able-ism, anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia and, yes, racism, are real. Say it with me: Racism is real.
He spoke in Alabama Friday night, supposedly for a rally to support Sen. Luther Strange in the state’s Republican primary. But then he decided to target black men advocating for equality and justice, to make their erasure at least as important as North Korea and American health care. He only added further proof to a truth everyone needs to stop denying.
It may seem pedantic, in the face of a threat as radical as the Trump presidency, to quibble over terminological distinctions between different varieties of odious people. But the language we use organizes our political thinking. And one of the terrible things Trump has done to this country has been to warp the terms and categories — and, hence, the character — of the political opposition through the exertion of sheer terror. Seemingly harmless changes have crept into our political lexicon, which may have dangerous consequences.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith in an interview questioned why President Trump was condemning National Football League (NFL) players more strongly than he did white supremacists last month.
Smith called Trump’s criticism of NFL players who kneel during the anthem “alarming” because he was “targeting the NFL, targeting the quality and character of guys in this league for that very protest,” according to the Kansas City Star.
“It’s the same guy who couldn’t condemn violent neo-Nazis. And he’s condemning guys taking a knee during the anthem,” Smith said.
“There are bigger issues out there that he probably should be worried about. But for some reason the NFL is on his mind.”
Smith said it was “uncomfortable” for him to talk politics but that “it struck a chord a little bit to see guys get attacked for a peaceful protest.”
The senior adviser set up the account after the election. Other West Wing officials have also used private email accounts for official business.
Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business.
Kushner uses his private account alongside his official White House email account, sometimes trading emails with senior White House officials, outside advisers and others about media coverage, event planning and other subjects, according to four people familiar with the correspondence. POLITICO has seen and verified about two dozen emails.
White House officials and Republican leaders are preparing a set of broad income and corporate tax cuts while also looking for a way to keep their plan from being a massive windfall for the wealthiest Americans, two people familiar with the plan said.
Party leaders are quietly circulating proposals to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and lower the top individual income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, according to the people familiar with the plan.
White House advisers are divided over whether to cut the top individual tax rate, and Republican leaders, aware the plan could be construed as a huge giveaway to the wealthy, are trying to design features to the package that would ensure that the rich don’t get too large a share of the plan’s tax relief.
President Trump on Sunday issued a new order indefinitely banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.
The new order is more far-reaching than the president’s original travel ban, imposing permanent restrictions on travel, rather than the 90-day suspension that Mr. Trump authorized soon after taking office. But officials said his new action was the result of a deliberative, rigorous examination of security risks that was designed to avoid the chaotic rollout of his first ban. And the addition of non-Muslim countries could address the legal attacks on earlier travel restrictions as discrimination based on religion.
Starting next month, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be banned from entering the United States, Mr. Trump said in a proclamation released Sunday night. Citizens of Iraq and some groups of people in Venezuela who seek to visit the United States will face restrictions or heightened scrutiny.
Mr. Trump’s original travel ban caused turmoil at airports in January and set off a furious legal challenge to the president’s authority. It was followed in March by a revised ban, which expired on Sunday even as the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about its constitutionality on Oct. 10. The new order — Chad, North Korea and Venezuela are new to the list of affected countries and Sudan has been dropped — will take effect Oct. 18.
Four days after a major hurricane battered Puerto Rico, leaving the entire island in a communications and power blackout, regions outside San Juan remained disconnected from the rest of the island — and the world. Juncos, in a mountainous region southeast of the capital that was slammed with Maria’s most powerful winds, remains isolated, alone, afraid.
Clinton in a tweet on Sunday urged President Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis to deploy the Navy, including the United States Naval Ship Comfort, immediately in order to help those on the island reeling from the Category 4 storm’s aftermath.
“These are American citizens,” she added, along with a retweet of the images of the faces impacted by the destruction.
It “opens the door to very bare-bones coverage.”
Republicans on Sunday evening circulated a new version of their embattled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Based on initial inspection, the new bill is a lot like the original bill, which would have decimated existing federal health programs, reduced government spending, and left many millions without insurance.
But now the legislation, which Politico and Vox first reported, includes a pair of important changes ― an even more aggressive assault on protections for people with pre-existing conditions, as well as some extra money to blunt the impact of funding cuts for a handful of states.
Each set of revisions seems designed to win over key Republican senators who have been critical of the legislation so far ― and to do so before Saturday, when Republicans, who hold just 52 seats in the Senate, lose parliamentary authority to pass repeal with 50 votes instead of the usual 60.
The broad architecture of the legislation, which Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced in late July and have been promoting ever since, hasn’t changed all that much. As before, Republicans are proposing to replace the Affordable Care Act with a less generous state-based program, and then introduce a new, separate limit on federal Medicaid spending.
The Republican senators at the forefront of the latest effort to undo the Affordable Care Act released a revised version of their bill Monday sending more health-care dollars to the states of key holdouts, as hardening resistance from several GOP senators left their proposal on the verge of collapse.
According to a summary obtained by The Washington Post, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) will propose giving Alaska and Maine more funding than initially offered. Those states are represented by Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), who have expressed concerns about the bill but have yet to say how they would vote.
But there was little evidence Monday that the changes would secure enough votes for passage. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), who is one of two GOP senators already against the bill, reiterated his opposition to the updated measure, and the other lawmaker, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has objected to it on the grounds that there has been no bipartisan outreach.
So, are we sensing a pattern here?
How long can we endure all this? When what we need is this:
Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands were devastated by the storm. Relief agencies are seeking donations, as well as food, water, and medical supplies.
I’m going to take a few deep breaths and do some grading.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?