Quote of the Day postsMonday June 19, 2017
'One of the Cruelest Pieces of Legislation': An Update
From Paul Krugman's column today:
Last month House Republicans rammed through one of the worst, cruelest pieces of legislation in history. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the American Health Care Act would take coverage away from 23 million Americans, and send premiums soaring for millions more, especially older workers with relatively low incomes.
This bill is, as it should be, wildly unpopular. Nonetheless, Republican Senate leaders are now trying to ram through their own version of the A.H.C.A., one that, all reports suggest, will differ only in minor, cosmetic ways. And they're trying to do it in total secrecy. It appears that there won't be any committee hearings before the bill goes to the floor. Nor are senators receiving draft text, or anything beyond a skeletal outline. Some have reportedly seen PowerPoint presentations, but the “slides are flashed across the screens so quickly that they can hardly be committed to memory.”
Clearly, the goal is to pass legislation that will have devastating effects on tens of millions of Americans without giving those expected to pass it, let alone the general public, any real chance to understand what they're voting for. There are even suggestions that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, might exploit loopholes in the rules to prevent any discussion on the Senate floor.
Not exactly news, but a reminder that we should all be more incensed than we are, and working as hard as possible to help elect a Democratic congress.
Quote of the Day
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony in the Senate Intelligence Committee was very unsettling. We know that a hostile foreign power—Russia—sought to undermine our democracy by meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But our attorney general, who is the top law enforcement official in the country, and the rest of the Trump administration seem unconcerned by that disturbing truth. They seem to have collective amnesia about meeting with Russian officials during and after the campaign and only remember when they have been caught. They are not acting like a group of people with nothing to hide.”
-- Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Ailes Obit I
“I would distill Ailes's genius down to the following formula: There is a person at a great distance from you who, simply by existing, insults your existence; therefore, that person does not have a right to exist. Ailes did more to degrade the tone of public life in America than anyone since Joseph McCarthy, and, even the day after his death, it is a struggle to write about him without borrowing from that tone.”
-- Stephen Metcalf, “How Rogers Ailes Degraded the Tone of Public Life in America,” The New Yorker
This Is Not a Drill
“An attempt to obstruct justice is an impeachable offense. And Trump has just openly admitted to such a thing. When, one wonders, will the patriots in the Republican Party stand up and confront this? If Clinton had done such a thing, the House would be drawing up articles of impeachment right now. We saw their pusillanimity last spring as this malign buffoon manhandled his way to the nomination. It has not abated. Comey may have made mistakes; he may have had a Messiah complex; he may go down in history as a self-righteous prick who interfered in an election. But he is obviously and transparently independent — the key criterion for any FBI director. He has angered both Democrats and Republicans over the years — and this very ability to stand up to the Bush administration and the Clinton campaign at critical moments made him someone you could count on to get to the bottom of the Russia affair. ...
”If this is swept under the rug, we take one giant step toward the authoritarianism Trump has always threatened. When a democracy believes its own president can put his finger on the scales of justice whenever his own interests are at stake, and get away with it, it is on its way to disintegration. I hope the Senate understands that this is not a drill. There needs now to be an independent prosecutor to take charge of the FBI case. If there isn't, the checks in our system will have failed.“
-- Andrew Sullivan, ”Trump Just Incriminated Himself," New York Magazine
'Ineptitude So Surreal'
Americans were treated to yet another portrait of ineptitude so surreal as to qualify as a kind of performance art, or maybe slapstick. What other White House would schedule a visit by the Russian foreign minister and ambassador on the day after Mr. Trump fired the man in charge of investigating his campaign's ties to Russia? What other White House would bar the American media while admitting a Russian state photographer? What other White House would be astonished that the Russians would then distribute photos of their officials backslapping the grinning Mr. Trump inside the Oval Office?
It was a potent demonstration that Moscow has this president's measure. Let's hope that's all it's got on him.
Earlier, the editorial quotes Time magazine's cover story on Trump watching and rewatching moments of the James Clapper/Sally Yates testimony earlier this week, and reveling in what he interpretted as vindication for him—even as it was no such thing—as, the Times adds, “Vice President Mike Pence and several aides stood by silently.” That's what Pence has been this entire time: complicit in his silence. Never forget.