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Pro-Russian President Donald Trump directs Secretary of State to skip NATO summit, travel to Moscow instead

News that Rex Tillerson would skip an upcoming NATO foreign ministers meeting and travel instead to Moscow is the kind of news that produces a “What the f…?” reaction, almost too grotesque and unbelievable to…





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Public morality in the 21st century: From Republican bad faith on health care to Brazilian soccer club signing a goalie who killed his wife and watched his dogs eat her

As we sink into the moral abyss of the 21st century, we need to look not only at Donald Trump’s lies, nepotism, dismantlement of the administrative state, and crony capitalism, but also at other events in other places, in order to see how public morality is faring not only in the United States but also in the rest of the world.
In an age of lies, where the American president lies about everything all of the time, where there is no accountability for presidential or other governmental actions, where in short nihilism reigns supreme, we should not be too surprised at the following story. It is the story of a Brazilian soccer star who kidnapped his wife and child, killed his wife and then watched his dogs eat her, how he was later set free on a technicality after serving 7 of the 22 years to which he was sentenced, and how when released he was immediately signed by a soccoer club, one of nine vying for his services.

Now, closer to home, we might consider the public morality of the Republican House members’ health care plan. It would lead to 24 million more people having no insurance coverage in 10 years than would otherwise be the case, and 14 million next year. It would allow insurance companies to charge older subscribers up to five times more in premiums than younger subscribers, effectively doing away with the underlying concept of health insurance in which everyone and all risks are pooled together. Under this plan, if you’re 55-64, and sick, you pay more. A great deal more. So much more that you won’t be able to afford it, and your “choice” will be to not buy health insurance.

The cruelty in this proposal is self-evident. The larger fact is that it is being presented in bad faith, with no one believing that the actual end product will look anything like what is being proposed.

But at the end of the day, the basic immorality of giving rich taxpayers over $500 billion in tax savings, while pushing the poor and elderly out of the health care system, cannot be disguised.


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The level-of-analysis problem in assessing and reacting to Trump’s assault on American democracy

The outlines and methods of President Donald Trump’s asault on the institutions of American democracy and their underling traditions and values are now clear.

First, he has conducted an all-out assault on the very concept of the truth.
Third, Trump not only lies about everything all of the time, but also engages in defamation of the leading news media in the United States on a daily basis, having labeled them “the opposition party” and “the enemy of the people.”
We face a dramatic situation.

We have a president who lies about everything all of the time.

We have a presdient and administration which reject the concept of accountability, dismissing criticism will lies and charges of “fake news”. The president openly defies the requirements of the Enmoluments Clause of the constitution…
We have a president who is under strong suspicion of colluding with the Russians in their intervention into the November 2016 elections in the United States, who has not criticized Putin or Russia directly in any significant way…
Given Trump’s ongoing assaults on the pillars of American democracy, and the values which underlie them, Democrats, Independents and Republicans need to start thinking, with great urgency, about how Trump and Bannon can be removed from office–at an early date.



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More on the “Golden Showers” dossier prepared by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele: Sources

British press reports add considerably more detail to the story regarding the credibility of the “Golden Showers” dossier prepared by ex MI6 agent Christopher Steele.

Particularly intriguing is the Christmas death of fomer KGB chief was was reportedly a go-between between Putin and a key associate.


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Analysis: Russia scandal closes in on Trump

With revelations of the Sessions and Kushner meetings with the Russian ambasador, the circle of suspicion is tightening around President Donald Trump himself.

Are we to believe that all of these people who had contacts with Russian officials were all free-lancing, and that Trump had no knowledge of their activities, during a prolonged period in which Trump made absolutely no criticism of Vladimir Putin or any of Russia’s actions?
Flynn represents an extraordinary danger for President Trump, as he may have been at the center of contacts with the Russians