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Journal Archives

Trump Will Stay Up All Night to Watch Cohen Testimony

Oh, goody, he's watching. I imagine tweets are forthcoming.


Trump Will Stay Up All Night to Watch Cohen Testimony
February 27, 2019 at 8:14 am EST By Taegan Goddard

White House aides know that Michael Cohen will be a huge spectacle today, and that it is going to overshadow much of what the president does at his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, CNN reports.

The expectation, according to a senior White House official, is that Trump “will stay up overnight in Hanoi and watch.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 11:51 AM (1 replies)

Democrats Unveil 'Medicare for All' Bill Favored by Liberal Base

Democrats Unveil ‘Medicare for All’ Bill Favored by Liberal Base
By Sahil Kapur and John Tozzi
February 26, 2019, 5:30 PM EST

A leader of House Democrats’ progressive wing is proposing “Medicare for all” legislation that would replace almost all private health insurance, an idea that’s galvanizing the party’s liberal base and winning endorsements from many of its top presidential contenders.

The legislation by Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal would steer all Americans — not just those 65 and older — into the Medicare program in two years. It would cover comprehensive health care services and, in a radical departure from the existing system, limit private insurance to supplemental benefits not provided by the government-run program.

“The state of our health care system is absolutely atrocious,” Jayapal of Washington told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “Americans are literally dying because they can’t afford insulin or they can’t get the cancer treatment they need. Americans are going bankrupt.”

She said the measure will be introduced Wednesday with more than 100 co-sponsors.

Jayapal didn’t say how much it would cost or how it would be funded. The measure would eliminate all premiums, deductibles and co-pays while guaranteeing universal health care access to “every person living in the United States,” according to a summary provided by Jayapal’s office. The summary said combining all coverage into one program would reduce administrative costs and let Medicare set doctors’ fees, hospital budgets, and negotiate drug prices.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 11:13 AM (2 replies)

Michael Cohen: Trump sent letters to his schools threatening them not to release his test scores


Michael Cohen: Trump sent letters to his schools threatening them not to release his test scores
[The Independent]
Tom Embury-Dennis
,The Independent•February 27, 2019

Donald Trump threatened his high school and college with legal action in order to prevent them releasing his exam scores, according to explosive testimony Michael Cohen is due to deliver before Congress.

Mr Cohen, the US president’s former lawyer and personal fixer, will tell the House oversight and reform committee on Wednesday how his then client directed him to send letters warning Mr Trump’s schools against releasing his grades.

The revelation is part of a larger picture Mr Cohen plans to sketch of Mr Trump as “a racist, a conman, and a cheat” who, he will claim, knew his campaign was communicating with WikiLeaks in order to damage his 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

“When I say conman, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges, and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores,” Mr Cohen will say, according to a transcript first obtained by the New York Times.

“As I mentioned, I’m giving the committee today copies of a letter I sent at Mr Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission.”

He will continue: “The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that Mr Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades.”

Mr Trump branded Barack Obama a “terrible student” in an interview nine years ago with the Associated Press, in which he pressured the former president to release his academic records.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 27, 2019, 10:25 AM (12 replies)

MAGA Personalities Launch Website About Themselves

MAGA Personalities Launch Website About Themselves
Will Sommer
02.26.19 7:32 PM ET

This story originally appeared in Right Richter, a newsletter by Will Sommer. Subscribe now to see what’s happening in right-wing media from the safety of your inbox.

Facing dwindling public enthusiasm for Trump and a lack of interest from outlets like Fox News, a collection of MAGA-world personalities have started a new publication devoted to themselves.

The new site is called Culttture, and it’s basically a repository of whatever drama is going on with the members of the pro-Trump “New Right” this week.

Has Laura Loomer shouted at someone lately? Culttture will have the video. Did some former Breitbart reporter get banned from Facebook? Culttture has a take. Did Mike Cernovich post a picture of his latest dinner? Culttture will, for some reason, have that as well.

They even have a terrible rap song, “For the Culttture,” which serves a rallying cry for a generation of young Trumpsters who have been kicked off social media.

“Had an Instagram, which also got banned,” goes one representative line.

No one from Culttture responded to my requests for comment. No one even explained why Culttture has three “T’s” in its name.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 08:50 PM (7 replies)

Rachel Maddow Dominates Fox News With Huge February Ratings


Posted on Tue, Feb 26th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Rachel Maddow Dominates Fox News With Huge February Ratings

Rachel Maddow’s domination of Fox News continued in February as she bested Sean Hannity as was the #1 show on cable news.

According to Neilson ratings provided to PoliticusUSA by MSNBC, “MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” was the #1 primetime cable news program in A25-54 for the 3rd straight month in February (including all specials), according to Nielsen. “Maddow” at 9pm averaged 549,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 526,000 at 9pm and 538,000 at 8pm, and CNN’s 363,000). In total viewers, “Maddow” was #1 at 9pm (including all specials).

In other MSNBC ratings news, “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams was #1 in A25-54 and total viewers at 11pm, topping FOX News and CNN in both demographics for the 3rd month in a row. “The 11th Hour” averaged 327,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 289,000 and CNN’s 269,000), up +1% over February 2018 (vs. FOX News’ -23% and CNN’s -11%). “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.8M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.4M and CNN’s 828,000), up +22% over February 2018 (vs. FOX News’ -9% and CNN’s +5%). For the 3rd month in a row, “Deadline: White House” at 4pm was #1 in total viewers. “Deadline: White House” averaged 1.7M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.55M and CNN’s 946,000).”

Rachel Maddow Has Pulled Ahead of Fox News

Fox News moved Sean Hannity to 9 PM to be their Maddow momentum killer because the entire Fox News brand is centered around being number one. While Hannity does run close to Maddow, he has not been able to give Fox News the number one show on cable news.

Rachel Maddow has built her audience with her tireless and dogged coverage of the Russia investigation. The first twenty plus minutes of Maddow’s show is the closest thing that cable news has to nightly long-form storytelling.

Maddow delivers a compelling and informative show. Her program also serves as the antidote for the lies and poison that Trump injects into the nation’s discourse.

As Fox News sinks under the weight of Trump failure, The Rachel Maddow Show is soaring by giving the public the knowledge and information that they need.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 08:01 PM (11 replies)

Activists Blast DNC for Even Considering a Fox News Debate

Activists Blast DNC for Even Considering a Fox News Debate
The party is divided among those who want to directly engage the opposition and those who think that’s totally insane.
Gideon Resnick,
Maxwell Tani
02.26.19 4:43 AM ET

Months before the first of a dozen Democratic primary debates is set to air, some activists within the party have begun raising concerns about one possible host: Fox News.

The right-leaning network with deep ties to the Trump administration hasn’t hosted a Democratic primary debate in over a decade. But that may change this year.

During a brief interview in late January, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez spoke with Fox anchor Bret Baier about the upcoming 2020 presidential election. In response to a question posed by Baier about whether Fox News could possibly host one of the many debates set to take place between 2019 and 2020, Perez said, “Absolutely, we’re having discussions with Fox and others.”

The comment was not universally well received. Democratic groups and politicians have long taken issue with the rightward bend of Fox News’ coverage, particularly in its primetime hours. And DNC staffers have not forgotten the role the network played in spreading a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who police say was killed in a botched robbery. In early 2018, Rich’s parents sued Fox News for a retracted story that said investigators had evidence showing Rich was tied to the leaking of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

Over a week ago, the founder of the progressive website Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas, delivered a petition to the DNC with over 100,000 signatures, calling on the committee to reject Fox News as a possible host for a Democratic debate. And he reserved blame for one person in particular.

“The DNC is giving Fox News and the conservative movement a giant credibility boost by even considering granting them a debate,” he told The Daily Beast. “At a time when activists have worked so hard to convince advertisers to abandon that den of racism, bigotry and misogyny, here comes Tom Perez like a jackass undermining all that work.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 07:51 AM (7 replies)

White House press corps evicted from hotel ahead of North Korea summit


White House press corps evicted from hotel ahead of North Korea summit
The forced move was highly unusual because the White House had approved of and supported the use of the space by media who cover the president.
Feb. 25, 2019, 11:54 PM EST / Updated Feb. 26, 2019, 4:15 AM EST
By Jonathan Allen

HANOI, Vietnam — The White House press corps was evicted from its workspace here Tuesday as a red carpet was rolled out at the same hotel to welcome North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for his nuclear summit with President Donald Trump.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted Tuesday morning that the reporters who cover Trump would be relocated from their planned staging ground at the Melia Hotel — including a 200-seat ballroom and stand-up spots for broadcast reporters — to an international media center.

“You must go now! This way,” a Vietnamese security officer barked at members of the press corps in the hotel lobby Tuesday morning.

The forced move was highly unusual because the White House had approved of and supported the use of the space by media who cover the president.

It was not immediately clear who made the decision to boot the White House reporters: North Korea, Vietnam, the U.S. or a combination of those governments.

Kim and Trump are meeting this week for the second time in a year to discuss a possible denuclearization of North Korea.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 26, 2019, 07:14 AM (24 replies)

Healthcare industry gears back up to keep system as crappy, and profitable for itself, as it can


Healthcare industry gears back up to keep system as crappy, and profitable for itself, as it can
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Monday February 25, 2019 · 1:29 PM EST

The powerful healthcare lobby is cranking itself back up, ready to fight every aspect of Medicare expansion Democrats might consider. That's just one of many reasons Democrats should be taking a maximalist approach on Medicare for all—in for a penny, in for a pound when you're fighting the likes of the Federation of American Hospitals, representing investor-owned hospitals, and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

They're organizing under the innocuous-sounding umbrella of Partnership for America's Health Care Future, and are using the same arguments they've been using against substantive healthcare reform since the first Medicare bill in the middle of the last century: It's going to cost too much and it will give bureaucrats control over health care. To which the entire nation of people who have health insurance says: It already costs too much, and insurance company bureaucrats are already in control.

Headed up by executive director Lauren Crawford Shaver, who worked on swing states for Hillary Clinton in 2016 (and look how that turned out), the organization has already attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders and his Medicare-for-all plan, of course, saying he's advocating for "upending our nation's health care system in favor of starting from scratch with Medicare for all." Never mind that when the proposed system is based on an existing system, you're not really starting from scratch. But it's not just the maximalist Medicare for all they're going after.

The group is also fighting the "pragmatic," incremental approach other Democrats are proposing, Medicare buy-in for people over 50. Their argument is the usual, as expressed by David Merritt, an executive vice president of AHIP: "This is a slippery slope to government-run health care for every American." It's rejected by the coalition, "whether you call it Medicare for all, Medicare buy-in, single payer or a public option." They point to their support for Medicaid expansion in the remaining states as evidence of their good faith on reform. They also want to increase federal subsidies for people buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act and get more states to set up reinsurance programs (with state and federal funding) to try to stabilize premium costs. Meaning, they want to use public money to get them more customers, essentially.

Public-opinion polls are finding that the status quo, even for people with employer-based health insurance, isn't working so great that they fear change. Everyone sees their out-of-pocket costs rising, because they have to pay more in premiums, in deductibles, and for prescriptions. The harder providers and drug companies and insurance companies work to ignore that, the more they make themselves a salient enemy for Democrats to use in the reform debate.

At this point, fighting for the minimum—Medicare buy-in at 55 or 50—isn't enough. The public debate has moved past that, and voters are ready to hear more. Now's the time to have that bigger conversation.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 25, 2019, 10:43 PM (1 replies)

Janet Yellen: Trump Is an Even Bigger Idiot Than He Looks

Janet Yellen: Trump Is an Even Bigger Idiot Than He Looks
The former Federal Reserve chair cannot adequately express how dumb our president is.
by Bess Levin
February 25, 2019 5:56 pm

When you’re actively working for the president of the United States, you can’t just come out and publicly say, “This guy is a complete and total moron,” however accurate or obvious the statement may be. Oh sure, you can say it in private, or in an anonymous op-ed, but attaching your name to such comments is generally considered inadvisable if you want to stay employed. That’s why, during the period in which Janet Yellen served as the chair of the Federal Reserve under Donald Trump, we never heard her telling reporters things like, “He makes the cast of Bachelor in Paradise look smart,” or “I honestly and truly believe my Schnauzer could do a better job.” But as of last February, Yellen no longer works for Trump—because he literally thought she was too short for the gig—and thus is feeling a bit freer in her choice of words.

In an interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal, Yellen was asked, point blank: “Do you think the president has a grasp of macroeconomic policy?” And instead of dancing around the issue or offering some kind of “I don’t know what’s in his heart” answer, she responded, “No, I do not.” That most of us had a hunch this was the case does not change the fact that it’s shocking Yellen would just come out and say it! And, apparently, macroeconomics is just one of several things she thinks President Buy and Sell knows nothing about, the others being international trade, business, and the entire purpose of the Federal Reserve.

Ryssdal: Tell me more.

Yellen:: Well, I doubt that he would even be able to say that the Fed’s goals are maximum employment and price stability, which is the goals that Congress have assigned to the Fed. He’s made comments about the Fed having an exchange-rate objective in order to support his trade plans, or possibly targeting the U.S. balance of trade. And, you know, I think comments like that shows a lack of understanding of the impact of the Fed on the economy, and appropriate policy goals. . . . I think [his lack of understanding about the effect of his trade tariffs] is . . . creating a lot of uncertainty for businesses, and I think my own view is that those shifts are likely to be adverse for the U.S. economy. . . . And when I continually hear focus by the president and some of his advisers on remedying bilateral trade deficits with other trade partners, I think almost any economist would tell you that there’s no real meaning to bilateral trade deficits, and it’s not an appropriate objective of policy.

Other things that keep Yellen up at night include Trump’s apparent lack of understanding about the Federal Reserve being an independent organization, and how crucial it is for the economy that Americans have confidence in the central bank. (Since appointing Jerome Powell, the president has blamed the Fed for market sell-offs; complained that he should be given “help” in the form of low interest rates; told reporters “the Fed is going loco,”; insisted his “gut” knows more about economics than Powell’s brain; and declared, “The only problem our economy has is the Fed. . . . The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch—he can’t putt!”). “President Trump’s comments about Chair Powell and about the Fed . . . concern me,” Yellen told Ryssdal, “because if that becomes concerted, I think it does have the impact, especially if conditions in the U.S. for any reason were to deteriorate, it could undermine confidence in the Fed. And I think that that would be a bad thing.”


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 25, 2019, 08:48 PM (12 replies)

Pete Buttigieg May Have Just Found a Way to Get Noticed in the Crowded Democratic Primary

Pete Buttigieg May Have Just Found a Way to Get Noticed in the Crowded Democratic Primary
By Josh Voorhees
Feb 22, 20196:51 PM

Pete Buttigieg is having a hard time getting noticed. One month after launching his presidential campaign, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, remains little more than a hard-to-pronounce afterthought in a field that is getting deeper by the week. According to the most recent polling from Morning Consult, 62 percent of Democrats say they’ve never heard of Buttigieg, while nearly half of those who do know his name say they haven’t heard enough to form an opinion. The top-line numbers are more daunting still: Buttigieg polls at 0 percent—as in zero, nada, nothing—among Democrats, both nationally and in the early nominating states.


Buttigieg, though, may have found the tiniest of openings this week—perhaps by accident.

During an event Tuesday in Philadelphia, an audience member asked him whether, if elected, he would be willing to pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices in response to the high court’s recent shift rightward. “I have not reached a considered position on the question of court-packing,” Buttigieg said over a few nervous-sounding laughs in the crowd. “Although I don’t think we should be laughing at it. Because in some ways it’s no more a shattering of norms than what’s already been done to get the judiciary to where it is today.”

It was an off-the-cuff, noncommittal answer, and yet it generated small but noticeable excitement in some corners of the internet. The 1/20/21 Project, a court-packing campaign with the backing of people like Harvard law professors Laurence Tribe and Mark Tushnet, celebrated the answer, as did NARAL president Ilyse Hogue. Progressive outlets like Common Dreams and Daily Kos likewise reacted positively, and ThinkProgress even went as far as to declare that Buttigieg had proved himself the only Democrat in the race who “seems serious about governing.”
A few tweets and effusive blog posts won’t turn Buttigieg into a national figure, but they do suggest that, even in a field that is proposing bold policies on everything from day care to climate change, there’s still room for a candidate to go big in other, less obvious areas. Buttigieg’s full answer, which didn’t make it into the clip originally shared online, points to a few such directions he might consider:


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 25, 2019, 08:18 PM (3 replies)
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