The incredible shrinking Spicey now just quoting Trump tweets, as are all White House aides

At one point in Donald Trump’s nascent administration, Republicans and White House aides alike tried to dismiss the Don’s tweets as a “just tweets.” But by June 6, the inimitable press secretary Sean Spicer was endorsing Trump’s thumbsy missives as “official statements.”

Last Friday, the White House went beyond simply calling Trump’s tweets “official,” actually quoting from his Twitter feed in response to an inquiry from the House Intelligence Committee:

“Dear Congressman Conaway and Ranking Member Schiff,” wrote Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, on official White House letterhead. “In response to the Committee’s inquiry, we refer you to President Trump’s June 22, 2017, statement regarding this matter: ‘With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.” (emphasis added)

Let’s just ignore the obvious obfuscation of “I have no idea” and also the reporting that the White House counsel reviewed the language of that tweet he deployed. Beyond all that, the White House is now responding to official Congressional inquiries with letters quoting “statements”—otherwise known as tweets—from Trump. In other words, Trump’s tweets are now synonymous with official White House statements, and not just because Spicey says so.

Read more

Right-wing ‘news’ sites distract from nightmare Trumpcare with scary fairy tales of freedom lost

Do you know people who like to watch horror movies? It’s puzzling why people want to have the bejeezus scared out of them, but to each his own. When it comes to politics, however, fear is a useful thing. In fact, there’s no better way to divert the attention of people away from, for example, the fact that you’re about to take health coverage from their family than by telling them a scary story that preys on their pre-existing fears. That’s the Trump campaign and presidency in a nutshell. Recently, the Daily Caller—founded by Bill O’Reilly’s replacement, Tucker Carlson—offered a textbook example of how it’s done.

Canadians Could Face Hate Crimes Over Using The Wrong Gender Pronouns

Canada passed a law Thursday making it illegal to use the wrong gender pronouns. Critics say that Canadians who do not subscribe to progressive gender theory could be accused of hate crimes, jailed, fined, and made to take anti-bias training.

That panic-inducing headline and introduction appeared atop a Daily Caller article. Big, bad, trans bullies—and their mollycoddling progressive allies—are going to police language and throw people in the clink if they fail to use “they” when they are supposed to. At least that’s what this right-wing website is peddling to its readers. It’s a mad, mad world out there, and the only way to stop our cultural decline is to vote against liberals and for the party led by a man who believes he can put his short fingers up any short skirt he likes, with or without the consent of the person wearing it.

Read more

DoE head displays willful ignorance while killer heat waves broil the southwest

Back when I lived in Florida and explained to residents there how awful summers back in Texas could be, some would downplay it by saying “but in Texas, it’s a dry heat.” Maybe, but when the mercury goes over the triple digit mark it doesn’t really matter how dry it is. Humid or arid, that kind of heat can kill. With climate change we’re seeing more and more record heat, and therefore more danger, more heat exhaustion, and more deadly heat stroke.

So naturally, in the midst of the summer’s first heat wave, one particular conservative dumbass who should know better strutted his ignorant stuff in front of the media:

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday denied that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change. Asked in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” whether he believed that carbon dioxide was “the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate,” Perry said that “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Maybe Rick felt left out in the recent senior cabinet brown-nosing session and this is his way of sneaking in a tender kiss to Trump’s nasty backside? Anyway, back in the real world and among those with dignity and decency:

Deadly heat waves like the one now broiling the American West are bigger killers than previously thought and they are going to grow more frequent, according to a new comprehensive study of fatal heat conditions. Still, those stretches may be less lethal in the future, as people become accustomed to them. A team of researchers examined 1,949 deadly heat waves from around the world since 1980 to look for trends, define when heat is so severe it kills and forecast the future. They found that nearly one in three people now experience 20 days a year when the heat reaches deadly levels. But the study predicts that up to three in four people worldwide will endure that kind of heat by the end of the century …

Read more

More Americans believe James Comey than Donald Trump, second poll this week confirms

Nope. Americans just don’t believe Donald Trump’s story about his conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey before he fired Comey. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that people believed Comey’s account over Trump’s by a two-to-one margin, with 45 percent believing Comey and a tiny 22 percent believing Trump.

Just 50 percent of Republicans believe Trump, though only 10 percent believe Comey, so Republicans really don’t quite know what to do with this. Half of them realize Trump is not telling the truth, but they can’t follow that one out to its logical end.

The bad news for Trump doesn’t stop there:

The NBC/WSJ poll also finds 46 percent of Americans disapproving of Trump’s decision to fire Comey — up from 38 percent in May.

Just 27 percent approve of Comey’s ouster. […]

According to the NBC/WSJ poll, 53 percent of Americans believe that Russia’s government interfered in the 2016 election, compared with 36 percent who disagree.

This is the second poll this week with similar results. No wonder Trump had to have his ego massaged at a campaign rally on Wednesday.

Read more

Here’s the simplest takedown of the Republican scheme to take away health care from millions

How bad is this Republican wealthcare bill? It is nothing short of vicious. This is a longer thread, but if you are one of the 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, if you’ve ever been pregnant or plan to have a family, if you or a loved one survives on Medicaid, or if you are age 46 or older, this is an absolute must-read. Senator Bob Casey breaks down this AHCA wealthcare bill, starting by noting the essential health benefits requirement of the Affordable Care Act would be revoked.

x

Page 41. They revoke the essential health benefits requirement. pic.twitter.com/1fxrRRrwyg

— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) June 22, 2017

Read more

Charleena Lyles’ family presses Seattle police for answers in her shooting death

The family of Charleena Lyles wants answers. And who can blame them? After all, Lyles called Seattle police for help on a Sunday morning after an alleged burglary in her apartment and wound up dead—killed by the very cops who were supposed to be helping her. The 30-year-old pregnant mother of four had been struggling with mental health issues. She was known to the police from a prior arrest earlier in the month and her family wants to know why police couldn’t have figured out a nonviolent way to restrain her after she seemed to become agitated during the officers’ visit.

Family attorney James Bible said Tuesday that family members have questioned why police didn’t use a non-lethal option when they knew Lyles had been struggling with mental health issues.

Lyles’ cousin Kenny Isabell said she was depressed but not violent and “was going through some things in her life.”

This is becoming routine: police shoot people with impunity and then blame the victim or inadequate training. And while they kill people of all colors, there is a disturbing pattern to how they often kill blacks, other people of color, and those with mental illness at disproportionate rates. This leaves those communities deeply distrustful of the police—and with good reason. There is a well-documented history that shows that, as an institution, policing has not been there to protect and serve minority communities.

Read more