- The Congressional Budget Office, working to inform congress of the fiscal impact of proposed legislation, issued a scathing report on the healthcare reform bill recently rushed through the House. The Hill reports, "[t]he Republican healthcare bill would result in 23 million fewer people with insurance over a decade, steep premium increases for older people and price hikes for many people with pre-existing conditions, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Wednesday." This is what happens when legislators don't actually understand the economics of the markets they're messing with, and rush to fulfill a campaign promise without taking the time to get things right.
- The New York Times reports that "Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials when he applied for security clearance because he was told not to do so by advisers and the F.B.I." There is a controversy as to whether the then-soon-to-be Attorney General committed a crime or was just following procedure, which is highly ironic given that the Attorney General is supposed to be an expert on what's legal and what's not. We'll just add him to the list of administration officials who seem to be hiding their history of contacts with Russian agents and officials.
- In a special election that was supposed to be safe for Republicans, but has become unexpectedly tight, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte got into a physical fight with Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. Even the Fox News (!) team at the scene reported, "at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte." The election to fill an empty seat in the U.S. House takes place tomorrow (Thursday).
- The New York Times (24 May) has an article titled "Top Russian Officials Discussed How to Influence Trump Aides Last Summer." New details confirm what is already clear, that Russian intelligence attempted to influence the November election and were knowingly manipulating campaign advisers to influence Trump himself. It is increasingly clear that U.S. intelligence agencies have known about this all along.
- "A plant where jobs were purportedly saved by Donald Trump ahead of his inauguration is set to make at least 600 staff cuts, many before Christmas," Newsweek reported yesterday afternoon. This, of course, refers to the Indiana Carrier plant about which Trump made exorbitant claims between election and inauguration.
- House Speaker and presumptive Trump ally Paul Ryan publicly disagreed with Trump, asserting that fired FBI director James Comey was not a "nut job."
There is more and there will continue to be more, but let's not belabor the point. This is life in the Trumpocene.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's news. I've been greatly relieved to to see that Trump managed to stay on script in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican. But tomorrow he'll meet with NATO officials and explain that he didn't really mean it when he called the institution "obsolete" during his campaign.
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