Trump Hates America, and His Pathetic ‘Leadership’ on Healthcare Is Proof Of It

The failure of TrumpCare is more than a political pratfall by Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It is an object lesson in the pettiness of a vengeful, self-absorbed man who couldn’t care less about the welfare of the American people.

Donald Trump

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump marketed himself as a master negotiator and dealmaker. But when push came to shove Trump couldn’t close the deal on what was the highest priority on his agenda. Instead, the man responsible for six bankruptcies failed yet again. He couldn’t move the ball across the goal line with a majority in both chambers of Congress. But what’s worse is that his reaction betrays a spiteful disregard for the citizens he purports to serve.

In a video posted on the White House website, the President made some brief comments about the TrumpCare debacle. True to form, he blamed Democrats for his own failings and those of his party. Never mind that Democrats could not have blocked passage if Republicans were united – or competent. The truth is that the GOP didn’t want to pass the bill because it was so transparently awful. They knew that their constituents were opposed to it. What legislator in their right mind would vote for a bill that had only seventeen percent approval?

However, the most disturbing part of Trump’s video statement is his virtual giddiness at the prospect of people suffering and Democrats getting blamed. He repeatedly made false assertions that “ObamaCare is exploding” (it’s not). His takeaway on that was a perverse pride in predicting that Americans will suffer:

“I think what will happen is ObamaCare, unfortunately, will explode. It’s gonna have a very bad year.”

Trump took solace in his estimation that TrumpCare’s demise was “the best thing that could happen.” So he believe’s that ObamaCare will inflict great pain on people, but that that’s a good thing. It’s a position that only a sadist could support. And his reasoning centered on a political analysis wherein Democrats would be held accountable for ObamaCare.

“I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own ObamaCare. They own it. One hundred percent own it. And this is not a Republican healthcare. This is not anything but a Democrat healthcare. And they have ObamaCare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist. Which it will at some point in the near future. And just remember, this is not our bill, this is their bill.”

Seriously, what reality is Trump living in? Democrats have always “owned” ObamaCare. It didn’t get a single Republican vote. It was drafted and passed by Democrats. It’s nicknamed after a Democratic president fer chrissakes. What’s more, Democrats are proud of the bill. They are anxious to be associated with its historic drop in the uninsured rate. They happily note that it has resulted in the slowest growth of healthcare costs in decades. And the fact that its approval rating in recent polls is at its highest level ever doesn’t hurt.

Republicans had eight years to come up with a viable alternative to ObamaCare. They never even bothered. Rather, they held meaningless votes (more than sixty of them) to either repeal or cripple ObamaCare. But they only did that because they knew that Obama would veto anything that reached his desk. Now, with a Republican in the White House, they are cowering in fear of voting for something the country opposes. Even press secretary Sean Spicer called them out before the vote. “You’ve taken a bunch of these free votes when it didn’t matter because you didn’t have a Republican president,” he chided. “Well, this is a live ball now. This is for real.” That obviously didn’t work.

Also in Trump’s video, he tried to make excuses for his failure by rewriting his history on the subject. “I never said repeal [ObamaCare] and replace it within sixty-four days,” he whined. That’s true, he never said “sixty-four days.” But he did say “immediately” and “on my first day in office” and that “it’s gonna be so easy.” That obviously didn’t work either.

Trump’s habit of lying, making excuses, and blaming others is on vivid display here. And his utter lack of leadership is appalling. A real leader would not threaten people with predictions of pain and suffering. He would not find comfort in the hardship of others. A real leader would face reality and then seek to mitigate any harm that he perceived. He would accept the circumstances and try to make best of them, even if it was not what he favored.

For example, if Trump thinks that ObamaCare is going to result in higher premiums, he should advocate greater participation. That would increase the risk pool and keep premiums down. If he’s concerned about insurance companies offering plans, he should help to create incentives for them to do so. He’s already given up on “repeal and replace” so he should be focusing on helping people rather than hovering over them like a vulture anxiously anticipating fresh corpses.

That, however, is not Trump’s style. He is a petulant, vindictive, narcissist who throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. And it doesn’t matter who he hurts. He is as poor a leader as he is a dealmaker. The battle over healthcare has been an instructive experience that lays open the festering flaws in Trump’s character – or more accurately – the lack of it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

WINNING? TrumpCare Vote Canceled as Support in Congress and the Country Collapses

The scheduled House vote on the bill to replace and repeal ObamaCare has been canceled – again. This is the second time in as many days that the bill was pulled from the schedule. It’s clear from the whip counts that had the vote gone forward it would lose. In fact, the “no” votes were increasing by the hour.

Donald Trump

This is a significant failure for both Donald Trump and the Republican congress. They promised that the first order of business of the Trump administration would be to repeal ObamaCare. Republicans in the House had voted more than fifty times to do so while President Obama was in office. Perhaps they were comfortable voting to kill a popular program as long as they knew Obama was there to veto it.

Now that the vote is off, there is no indication of whether it will be rescheduled or what form the bill might take. Trump has previously said that this is the bill and if it isn’t passed there won’t be another opportunity. Paul Ryan, Sean Spicer, and others in the GOP leadership said much the same thing. However, Robert Costa of the Washington Post is reporting that Trump called him to say that he was responsible for canceling the vote. That would be peculiar, since he was the one making ultimatums about this vote being the only vote.

So for the time being ObamaCare will not be repealed or replaced. The American people will be happy to hear that as the most recent polling shows that only 17 percent favored the GOP effort to kill it. Trump’s bragging about the nation getting sick and tired of winning is less likely to be a concern in the near future.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This is a breaking story that is continuing to unfold. Updates will be provided as they become available.

Watch Trump WHINE That America Will Remember Obama and ObamaCare Fondly – And He’s Right

Donald Trump has commenced his sales pitch for the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). It’s generous to call it an alternative when it mainly guts the existing plan and grants millionaires a huge tax break. Nevertheless, Trump went into his negative branding routine, calling ObamaCare a disaster and falsely asserting that it is imploding.

Obama Trump

There is little in the GOP plan that can be identified as being beneficial to American citizens. But in a White House photo-op, the President heralded it as godsend. He claimed that competition was going to bring the cost of health care way down. “It will be a thing of beauty,” he said. But he didn’t explain why that would happen in a future without ObamaCare when it never happened prior to ObamaCare. In fact, costs increased at a far greater rate before the ACA than after.

He also claimed that the ACA covers very few people. That flies in the face of reality. Since the introduction of ObamaCare more than 20 million additional Americans have healthcare coverage. As demonstrated by his ludicrous crowd estimates at his inauguration, Trump has trouble with numbers. However, his ability to whine is firmly in tact. Predicting that the public will react negatively to RepubliCare, Trump sought to preemptively dismiss their judgment:

“So the press is making it look so wonderful. So that if we end it, everyone’s going to say, ‘Oh, remember how great ObamaCare used to be? Remember how wonderful it used to be? It used to be so great?’ It’s a little bit like President Obama. When he left, people liked him. When he was here, people didn’t like him so much. That’s the way life goes. That’s human nature.”

First of all, Obama’s approval rating never dipped below 50 percent in the last six months of his presidency. The nation’s appreciation for him did not start after he left office. And when he did leave his approval peaked at 59 percent. ObamaCare is also viewed more favorably than ever now. People don’t have to wait until it’s gone to miss it. They appreciate it now, especially in contrast to the Republican alternative. So Trump’s lament that everyone’s gonna “remember how great ObamaCare used to be,” is well placed.

Trump then returned to his robotic and hollow repetition that “ObamaCare is a disaster,” for which he offered no proof. All the available evidence points to a program that has exceeded the most optimistic projections. And it continues to gain popularity. This year ObamaCare had more enrollments than any year since it began.

Now that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has completed its analysis of the the Republican plan, a fair comparison can be made. The CBO projects that 24 million people will lose their healthcare coverage by 2026 under the GOP’s plan. And while premiums will decline marginally for young, healthy enrollees, they will skyrocket for seniors and low income earners. Meanwhile, the wealthy will get massive tax cuts that will make it even harder to provide coverage via Medicaid and Medicare. The GOP proposal will cost those programs nearly $900 billion.

Trump’s point men on the issue immediately rejected the CBO report without having read it. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made a blanket condemnation of the CBO’s competence and accuracy. And Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, spewed a litany of lies aimed at discrediting the CBO.

This is is pretty much all the Trump administration can do at this point. The facts are aligned against them. But it’s encouraging that even Trump realizes that American’s have positive views of both Obama and his healthcare policies. He can’t deny the popularity of a program that made insurance available to millions for the first time. But he sure does whine tremendously goodly.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Paul Ryan’s Health Insurance Seminar Proves One Thing: He Has No Friggin’ Idea How Insurance Works

Thursday morning Republicans rolled out a presentation of their long-awaited alternative to the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). It came in the form of a lecture by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He stood before the class and gave a PowerPoint aided speech that supposedly spelled out everything you might need to know about the GOP plan.

Paul Ryan

There was just one problem. Well actually, way more than one. But in the broadest terms the single most problematic part of Ryan’s lecture was that it made no sense whatsoever. It failed to address how it would cover everyone who is presently covered. There were no financing specifics to explain how it would be funded. But the most prominent flaw in his presentation was that it revealed that he has no idea what insurance is. Nor does he have any notion of how it works. Ryan summed up his criticism of ObamaCare saying that:

“The whole idea of Obamacare is … the people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick. It’s not working, and that’s why it’s in a death spiral.”

Let that sink in. What Ryan is saying is not that ObamaCare doesn’t work, but that the whole concept of insurance doesn’t work. Every insurance product, whether it’s for healthcare or auto accidents, operates on the same principle. Many people pay into a pool that is used to cover the costs of the unfortunates who suffer a loss. Insurance depends on the fact that most policy holders will not have a claim (i.e. healthy people). Therefore, their premiums pay for folks who do have claims (i.e. the sick or injured).

Paul Ryan doesn’t seem to grasp that concept. To demonstrate the depth of his confusion, he offered a little example:

[Video below, starts at 14:30]: “Take a small business that has forty employees. Let’s say that four people in that business get cancer. Well, under that business, that business has to pay for all those cancer patients, all those cancer treatments. So the other thirty-six people in that forty person pool get hit with much, much higher premiums to pay for the four that got cancer. That’s how the insurance works today. And that is one of the reasons why this thing is going bankrupt.

“Here’s our solution. Let’s just make sure we cover the people who have preexisting conditions. Make sure reinsurance or risk pools kick in for those four people in that small business that get cancer. Subsidize that coverage and what you do by doing that is you dramatically lower and stabilize the price of insurance for everybody else.”

Let’s break that down. Ryan says that the practice of insuring people by having many people contribute to a risk pool is going bankrupt. He might want to run that by the multi-billion dollar, highly profitable insurance corporations for confirmation. Then he proposes that only the sick people get federally subsidized insurance. That leaves the population of healthy people with lower premiums. That’s actually true. And it makes the insurance companies wealthier because they are only covering people who don’t need any coverage.

But Ryan doesn’t say where the government would get the money to pay for the cancer patients in his scenario. Ordinarily those funds would come from the healthy people that he just removed from the picture.

So one of three things would happen. Either the government would have to bear the total cost of healthcare for America’s sickest population and incur massive debts. Or everyone would have to be taxed to finance the coverage for those patients. Or the sick people would just die. Ironically, there is a germ of a real solution in there. Universal healthcare would provide all Americans with coverage and spread the costs so broadly across the populace that the premiums would be easily manageable.

But that’s not what Ryan and company are proposing. They want to give all the healthy people cheap insurance and burden the sick with unpayable bills. That’s the solution that is being advanced by Republicans in Congress and has already been endorsed by President Trump. If you have the intestinal fortitude, you can watch the entire presentation by Ryan and see if it makes any sense to you. If not, stay away because intestinal maladies are not covered in the GOP plan.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The ‘So-Called’ Trump Presidency Is Crumbling Under The Pressure – And They Know It

Since the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, the American people have flooded the streets and town halls to express their opposition to his agenda. Unprecedented numbers of citizens turned out for the nationwide Women’s March on January 21. A week later, more protesters showed up spontaneously at airports to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban. Now town halls are being inundated by angry voters who won’t stand for Trump’s efforts to gut ObamaCare.

Mitch McConnell GOP Town Hall

These protests are having a profound effect on the Republican Party. Nervous GOP representatives in Washington, and across the nation, are running scared – literally. Many are avoiding their own constituents meetings for fear of encountering their wrath. And the ones that are going are being greeted by passionate advocates for progressive policies and values.

For those who are skeptical that these tactics are effective, set aside your worries. There is abundant evidence that they are working better than anyone anticipated. And the best proof of that comes from Republicans themselves. Take for instance the remarks by former GOP senator Jim DeMint. He is currently the president of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. Tuesday night he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on MSNBC (video below). His intent was to vent his displeasure with citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. But he ended up validating the efforts of the citizens he hoped to discredit:

“It’s not really like the Tea Party. I was going through this document today, Indivisible. These folks are very well financed. Very well organized. They’re being bused around to go to these different town halls to disrupt them.”

First of all, he’s partially correct about the Tea Party. It was quite different in that it was bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Indivisible Movement is a grassroots campaign whose partners are social activist organizations, not multinational corporations. However, DeMint’s assertion that protesters are being “bused around” is delusional. They would have to have thousands of buses motoring across the whole country at impossible speeds. But DeMint wasn’t finished:

“So it’s gonna be difficult for congressmen to go out and defend their positions. Because these folks who are coming are not coming to contribute. They’re coming to disrupt. So it’s an organized effort to make it hard for Trump and Republican congress to be successful.”

DeMint is admitting that the GOP’s position is difficult to defend. No kidding. Their platform calls for throwing twenty million people off of their health insurance plans. It proposes tax reforms that will shift the burden from the rich to the middle-class and poor. They are pushing bigoted immigration schemes that will ban Muslims and deport Latinos. And DeMint wonders why that might be difficult to defend? But here’s the best part:

“Hopefully they [Republicans] will continue to plow through. Although I’m concerned that all of this push-back has delayed the repeal of ObamaCare, and certainly other agenda items that need to be taken up.”

That’s right. It’s working. Keep it up. It is highly unusual for a right-wing political operative to concede that his opponents are winning. This admission ought to encourage every progressive to redouble their efforts to prevent the Trump agenda from being implemented. These actions are also being felt all the way up to the White House. They’re rolling out their talking points intended to portray the protests as “fake news.” Press secretary Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) laments that “There is a bit of professional protester, manufactured base in there.” And Trump himself tweeted this:

We previously were warned about “so-called judges,” and now we have “so-called angry crowds.” Apparently our so-called President is living in a so-called reality where anything he doesn’t like is fake. SAD! It’s not surprising that he’s baffled by citizens “planning” their activities, rather than behaving erratically the way he does. Even worse, in a recent press conference Trump made it clear that he is not the president of all the people:

“We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. You can say, oh, Obamacare — I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”

Setting aside the odd reference to “alleys,” Trump just confessed that he’s only interested in what Republicans have to say. He continues to prove that he’s a divisive, partisan politician with no interest in having a productive dialog. The extremists in Trump’s administration are determined to steamroll their agenda of hate and elitism through a rubber-stamp congress. Unfortunately for them, the American people do not seem willing to allow it. And if we keep the pressure on, we can stop them in their tracks and replace them in 2018. Forward.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

ALERT: There Are Still 5 Days To Sign Up For ObamaCare – Despite Trump’s Attempt At Sabotage

The Republican Party has spent six years trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Now, with Donald Trump in the White House, they have their best opportunity achieve their goal. Never mind that more than thirty million people will lose their health insurance. And despite their promises, the GOP has never proposed a viable alternative.

ObamaCare Trump

This week the Trump administration took another step aimed at crippling the popular program. With five more days left to submit applications for coverage in 2017, the White House halted all advertising and promotions to encourage last minute enrollments. According to a report in Politico:

“The Trump administration has pulled the plug on all Obamacare outreach and advertising in the crucial final days of the 2017 enrollment season, according to sources at Health and Human Services and on Capitol Hill. Even ads that had already been placed and paid for have been pulled, the sources told POLITICO.”

Politico notes that this decision came directly from the White House. And at this time there is no HHS leadership to consult for analysis and advice. But it’s well known that the last week of enrollment typically attracts a high number of consumers who spent the winter procrastinating. When they are reminded of the deadline, they rush to sign up before it passes. Many of these late enrollees are younger and healthier, a group that is important to keep premiums down and maintain fiscal sustainability. Therein lies the motives of the GOP. They are deliberately sabotaging ObamaCare to satisfy their political ambitions.

Healthcare advocates (and the Trump team) know that advertising in advance of the deadline is an effective way to reach people who actually want to sign up. So canceling ads that are known to work is part of a cynical plot to harm the program. Not to mention the millions of Americans who rely on it. In addition, they have stopped sending out emails to people who began applications but haven’t completed them. That is a measure that always produces positive results, yet costs next to nothing.

Speaking of costs, that is the excuse the administration is floating for canceling any future ads and promotions. However, as noted above, the email program is virtually free and many of the ads are already paid for. How can they argue fiscal conservatism if they are willing to let paid ads go un-aired?

Even if Trump and the GOP is determined to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare, that isn’t going to happen overnight. Consequently, undermining efforts to sign people up now will result in them being uncovered. There is no reason to place tens of thousands of people at risk while an alternative is allegedly being developed. This just proves that the Trump administration is willing to play politics with people’s lives.

For those who have not yet signed up for 2017, you still have until January 31, to do so. Just logon to Healthcare.gov if you live in a state that does not operate its own exchange. And below is a list of the state-run exchanges. Please pass this article on to anyone you know who is interested in having health insurance this year. And share it on social media and other places interested people might see it. We are going to have to do this ourselves, since our government under Trump is working against us.


How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

ObamaCare More Popular Than Ever – Just As Trump And GOP Rush To Kill It

Since 2010, Republicans have been staunchly opposed to virtually any health insurance reform that actually helped those who needed it. They voted more than fifty times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) during Obama’s presidency. Now that the GOP has one of their own moving into the White House, they are giddy with anticipation of achieving their goal.

ObamaCare

There’s just one problem. The Wall Street Journal and NBC News just released a survey that has bad news for the GOP:

“As Republicans get closer to repealing it, President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law — or Obamacare — has never been more popular, according to results from a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.” […]

“50 percent of Americans say the law is working well (6 percent) or needs minor modifications to improve it (44 percent).”

The poll also notes that thirty-three percent of respondents think that ObamaCare could be improved with a major overhaul. However, only sixteen percent of the American people think that it should be eliminated entirely. What’s more, the public has very little faith in the Republican majority in Congress to produce anything to adequately replace ObamaCare:

“Just 26 percent of Americans have either a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a bit of confidence’ that congressional Republicans will replace the law with something better, while a combined 50 percent say they have either ‘very little’ or no confidence with the GOP here.”

In light of that, Trump’s slumping appeal to the nation registers even more prominently. He is by far the least popular president-elect in modern history with a mere forty percent favorability. Compare that with the last three presidents just prior to inauguration: Obama (84%), Bush (61%), Clinton (67%). And this is at a time when a newly elected leader enjoys a “honeymoon” period. It appears the American people are more in the mood for a quickie divorce. And true to form, Trump blames that on “rigged” polls.

For the record, the polls were actually remarkably accurate. They predicated that Hillary Clinton was favored by two to three percent in the days before the election. And that is precisely her margin of victory in the popular vote.

The people’s opposition to a repeal of ObamaCare has a factual foundation that Republicans strive to suppress. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of repeal found that up to 32 million people would lose their health coverage. They also found that premiums would skyrocket by up to fifty percent more than current rates. Also troubling is their finding that insurance providers would bail out of the market in droves. In Fact, they project that half of the nation would live in areas with no individual insurers at all. And that would rise to three-quarters by 2026.

Perhaps that’s why Republicans passed a bill to prohibit the CBO from scoring their ObamaCare repeal efforts. It’s a tactic designed to insure that people remain in the dark when their representatives are screwing them over. If they truly believed in the benefits of a repeal, they wouldn’t be afraid to let people know how it will affect them.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So Republicans are attempting to undo a popular healthcare bill, whose repeal will raise costs for both citizens and government. And they’re doing it behind a veil of self-imposed secrecy, at the behest of a historically reviled new president. Sounds like business as usual for the contemporary Tea Party infused, Ayn Rand inspired, Trump led Republican Party.

GOP Hypocrites Abandon Criteria For Cabinet Nominees That They Demanded From Obama

As Inauguration Day draws closer, Donald Trump’s transition continues to break with ethical standards that have had bipartisan approval for decades. Now his cabinet nominees are scheduled to have hearings in a slap-dash, marathon day of Senate gabfests. This is designed deliberately to make it impossible for senators and citizens to fully consider the nominees.

Mitch McConnell

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is expressed its misgivings with the Republican scheduling. The OGE director warned that the plan to hold confirmation hearings before the completion of ethics reviews is “of great concern.” In a letter to the Senate he said:

“As OGE’s director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. […] I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process.”

Also expressing concern was the Democratic National Committee. They called for the hearings to be delayed until the ethics office had sufficient time to complete the reviews. Absent that, DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said that “the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they are concerned about what will be exposed.”

Among the reviews still being conducted are FBI background checks, OGE investigations into conflicts of interest, and financial disclosures. And what makes this all the more interesting is that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had the very same concerns. Not now, but back in 2009 when it was Obama’s nominees being considered. McConnell wrote to then-Majority Leader Harry Reid to insist that all these reviews must be completed and returned in enough time to review prior to the hearings.

Joining the call for adhering to ethical precedents was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted:

Not surprisingly, Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, is comfortable with jettisoning ethics reviews. On Fox News Sunday he said that “there’s no reason … they have all the information that they need. It’s no different from any other new administration coming in.” However, McConnell’s letter proves that it’s entirely different.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The standards that Republicans impose on Democrats is a much higher one than that to which they hold themselves. That’s why their nominees have been criticized for their blatant conflicts and unsavory behavior. And it’s why Republicans are so anxious to shove these cretins through the confirmation process before everyone finds out about them.

GOP’s Retreat On Ethics Office Doesn’t Erase Their Unscrpulous Intentions

In the past twenty-four hours congressional Republicans have given the nation a taste of the callous disregard they have for ethical conduct. On Monday it was reported that Republicans voted to neuter Congress’ ability to investigate misconduct in their ranks. They adopted a proposal to close the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics. Their plan called for replacing it with a panel comprised of members of the GOP-dominated Oversight Committee.

Paul Ryan GOP

Almost immediately this proposal was lambasted by both parties and pundits from across the political spectrum. It was seen as an attempt to protect themselves from scrutiny and punishment for malfeasance in office. Even Donald Trump weighed in via Twitter saying that:

With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it […] may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS”

Trump’s vague expression of disapproval perfectly illustrates the problem with the Republican’s lack of principle. Notice that he did not criticize the proposal’s intention, only its timing. In fact, he endorsed the baseless complaint that the current system is “unfair.” And that’s precisely what the GOP has believed ever since the office was created by a Democratic congress in 2008.

On Tuesday morning, the Republican’s anti-ethics proposal was put back on the shelf. It was a head-spinning reversal that made clear how terribly they had screwed up. This was the party that promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but instead was feeding the gators. Politico reported that:

“Following a public outcry, and criticism from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on drastic changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered a motion to restore the current OCE rules, and that was accepted by the GOP conference.”

What was not reported is that there was ample precedent for what Republicans tried to do Monday. Just two weeks ago Newt Gingrich addressed the ethics issue, complaining that for Trump “traditional rules don’t work.” He described Trump’s ascension to power as a “billionaire presidency,” which he meant as a justification for special treatment. In other words, the rules for the rich are different than those for the rest of us.

Furthermore, it’s possible that the House GOP was reacting to something the federal Office of Government Ethics did in November. A series of tweets were posted that sarcastically praised Trump for divesting himself of his business interests. Which not only has he not done, but he stubbornly refuses to do so. He even canceled a scheduled press conference to explain how he would handle his copious conflicts of interest. By closing up its own ethics shop, House Republicans might just be hoping to prevent other such embarrassing exposes of their affinity for corruption.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So for the time being, the House Office of Congressional Ethics will continue to operate. However, expect this matter to return when they think they can slip it by without arousing suspicion and criticism. They still believe it is in their interest to suppress ethics inquiries. They just don’t want to get caught doing it at the outset of their party’s domination of government.

Republicans In Congress Are TERRIFIED Of Trump And His ‘Horde Of Enforcers’

Donald Trump ran roughshod over his GOP opponents in the 2016 Republican primaries. It was a scorched Earth style campaign that left his foes, not just beaten, but humiliated. He didn’t merely challenge their policy positions or leadership skills, he used language meant to shame them. Fellow Republicans were viciously maligned as “Lyin’ Ted’ and “Little Marco.” Eventually Trump succeeded in capturing the nomination, but not without leaving bodies on the battlefield.

Trump/Bannon

Those same tactics are now being deployed against the Republicans in Congress. Many of them are saying privately that they are fearful of taking positions against Trump. That poses a critical problem because their traditionally conservative views are often at odds with Trump’s twisted brand of populism. Trumpulism favors cordial relations with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin. It proposes to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure improvements, mainly benefiting wealthy contractors. It is critical of the U.S. alliance with NATO. It would impose stiff tariffs on American companies with foreign factories. All of these positions are in direct opposition to decades of Republican doctrine.

The problem now is that Republicans are literally afraid to speak their minds. They have been warned by Trump and his surrogates that any diversion from total obedience to his agenda would be viewed as betrayal. As reported by Politico:

“It’s little wonder that Capitol Hill Republicans have papered over their not-insignificant policy differences with Trump, shying away from any statement about the president-elect that might possibly be construed as critical. They’re terrified of arousing the ire of their tempestuous new leader — or being labeled a turncoat by his army of followers.” […]

“Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They’re afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters.”

The threat from Breitbart is a real concern. Especially since its chairman, Stephen Bannon, is currently on leave to serve as Trump’s strategic advisor in the White House. But it doesn’t stop there. As South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford said, “People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks.”

Texas Rep. Bill Flores can attest to Sanford’s worries. After he made some rather tame remarks at a conservative conference, the Trump enforcers snapped into action. Breitbart began with an article condemning Flores for plotting to “stifle Trump’s campaign promises.” Sean Hannity of Fox News picked up the story and added his own vitriolic objections. He implied that Flores was using code to tell Trump to “Go to hell.” Subsequently, Flores was showered with complaints that included predictions of the end of his political career and even death threats. Never mind that he is one of the most conservative members of the House and a co-founder of its arch right-wing Freedom Caucus.

The media component of Trump’s Crusaders is a key to their intimidation tactics. They have the power of Fox News as well as dozens of other right-wing media outlets. Strain all of that through Facebook and Twitter and you get a powerful amplification of their defamatory propaganda.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The rest of the GOP caucus is learning a lesson from this. They are choosing to keep their mouths shut rather than risk offending Trump or his defenders. The StormTrumpers stand at the ready to crucify any Republican they view as disloyal or insufficiently resolute. It’s a chilling state of affairs that impinges on the core principles of democracy. And in that regard, it should not be a surprise coming from the Trump camp. His authoritarian leanings have been apparent from the start of his campaign. And since it’s clear that Republicans can’t be relied upon to defend democracy, Democrats better be prepared to do it.