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      Steve Bannon: Donald Trump’s former chief of staff is planning to set up a foundation in Brussels to support right-wing, anti-establishment groups in the run-up to the European Parliament election. Steve Bannon said in a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast that he wants to unite powers on the right end of the political spectrum. […]
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      Not very, unfortunately. NBC/WSJ POLL: Donald Trump’s approval rating has risen to 45%, with disapproval at 52%. Among Republicans, 88% approve. That’s the highest intra-party rating of any president at this stage since the dawn of modern polling, except Bush post-9/11.https://t.co/vqbr6iReCr pic.twitter.com/K9lUmJbXv8 — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) July 23, 20 […]
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Stride: you know it don’t matter anyway.

The Republicans are planning to have a vote to straight out repeal Obamacare without a replacement any minute now. Update: forget that. Outright repeal failed. Now they're going to try to vote on a "skinny repeal". That will eliminate the individual AND employer mandate. That's right, if you work for a company that provides health insurance and the company is bigger than 50 people, you could theoretically end up without insurance after the skinny repeal is passed.

The trick of the skinny repeal is that it is just enough to get the senate bill into the reconciliation process with the House bill. Then the real sausage making begins and things will get ugly fast.

It's hard to understand how such a heartlessly cruel bill could pass. But we seem to have a surplus of people who lack empathy. Including voters who never have to worry about going without.

Must be nice.

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Following up on a conversation I'm having with Lady V today about Ivanka and her influence during the campaign:

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Paul Waldman writes about Eric Cantor's stunning admission that Republicans were counting on their voters to be stupid:

As Republicans struggle to figure out which spectacularly unpopular, viciously cruel and perfunctorily considered version of their health-care bill they want to become law, one former member of the House leadership has come out with an extraordinary admission about what a scam the whole project is. In an interview with Elaina Plott of Washingtonian magazine, former House majority leader Eric Cantor, who was defeated in a primary in 2014 by a tea party extremist, explains that Republicans knew they were lying to their base about their ability to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but they just couldn’t help themselves:

“To give the impression that if Republicans were in control of the House and Senate, that we could do that when Obama was still in office . . . .” His voice trails off and he shakes his head. “I never believed it.”

He says he wasn’t the only one aware of the charade: “We sort of all got what was going on, that there was this disconnect in terms of communication, because no one wanted to take the time out in the general public to even think about ‘Wait a minute—that can’t happen.’ ” But, he adds, “if you’ve got that anger working for you, you’re gonna let it be.”

It’s a stunning admission from a former member of the party leadership—that the linchpin of GOP electoral strategy for the better part of a decade was a fantasy, a flame continually fanned solely because, when it came to midterm elections, it worked. (Barring, of course, his own)

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Stroll: But I’m not the only one

So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

– Choose Something Like A Star
Robert Frost

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Feeling a rant coming on. It's cooking. Later…
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Kenneth Branagh talked to Stephen Colbert about the Dunkirk Spirit last night.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

It helps if you know who your enemy is. Hint: it's not sick people, children, old people, poor people of every color or women.

That leaves…?
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Are you pondering what I'm pondering? Is the reason the Republicans on such a tear about the healthcare bill because they need Trump to sign it before they have to turn on him? It's not just the Russia thing. It's the whole incompetence, stupidity and recklessness of his administration that is scaring the crap out of everyone on Capitol Hill.

They got their Supreme Court nomination. (Stole it, to be precise). If they can knock out this healthcare thing, they can satisfy their donors to a degree, work on getting rid of Trump and call it a day. Let the dust settle until 2018. Hopefully, no one will remember how they voted.

I wouldn't count on that.

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A philosopher at The Conversation breaks down competing liberties to argue why it is a bad idea for "religious liberty" to override LGBT rights. This one is deep but definitely worth the effort.