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Probably getting only worse


Top Democrats said a meeting with President Trump and top Republicans on Turkey disintegrated Wednesday, as the president doubled down on his decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria, a decision that has now been condemned by a bipartisan resolution in the House, and by several Republican senators.

“What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown, sad to say,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on the White House driveway after meeting with the president. She later told reporters that she believes “we have to pray for his health because this was a very serious meltdown.”

During the meeting, which lasted less than 45 minutes, the president insulted Pelosi, according to top Democrats who said the president compared ISIS to communists and suggested Pelosi would approve of that.

“He was insulting, particularly to the speaker,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “He called her a third-rate politician. … It was sort of a nasty diatribe, not focused on the facts.”


Not a parody letter


No wonder she looked pissed.


IN TYPICAL DEBATE prep, candidates try to game out what questions might come from moderators, and what attacks might come from rivals, to have responses at the ready.

But there are always moments that are impossible to anticipate. It’s unlikely, for instance, that anyone on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s prep team had considered the scenario that arose Tuesday night: What if former Vice President Joe Biden angrily takes credit for your signature achievement?

After Biden said on stage that he was the only one who had gotten big things done, Warren noted that she had ushered into being the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, over the objections of Wall Street and many in her own party.

Biden objected. “I agreed with the great job she did, and I went on the floor and got you votes,” he said, his voice raised, pointing at Warren. “I got votes for that bill. I convinced people to vote for it. So let’s get those things straight too.”

When Warren was asked to respond, a look of anger washed over her face. She paused, and said, very deliberately, “I am deeply grateful to President Obama, who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed into law, and I am deeply grateful to every single person who fought for it and who helped pass it into law.”

Biden, however, was not one of those people, according to numerous sources who were involved in the fight over the CFPB’s creation. He did, however, offer Warren a verbal pat on the head at the end of the exchange on Tuesday. “You did a hell of a job in your job,” he said.

“Thank you,” Warren deadpanned.


The columnist is a libertarian but she’s right here


Though her fans will probably bridle at the observation, Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate made it clear that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is not really a health-care wonk.

Warren’s appeal to voters is as the thinking man’s Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Among a certain sector of the electorate — highly educated, urbane, prone to reading “explainers” — the pedantic glamour of the Harvard professoriate blurs her radical edges and limns her most pedestrian pronouncements. These are the sort of people who praise Warren over Sanders because she really knows her stuff.

Yet consider her answer on Tuesday night when Marc Lacey, a New York Times editor, asked her about health-care insurance: “You have not specified how you’re going to pay for the most expensive plan, Medicare-for-all. Will you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for it, yes or no?”

The former professor sounded like a freshman who hadn’t done the reading. Warren ambled between heart-tugging anecdote and amiably unobjectionable generalities — “Look, the way I see this, it is hard enough to get a diagnosis … what you shouldn’t have to worry about is how you’re going to pay for your health care after that.” She didn’t attempt to answer the question, except to insist that the only people who will pay for her new plan are the rich and big corporations. As real wonks know, that math doesn’t work.



But in spite of his recognition that we face “big issues,” for Buttigieg, this need for healing actually argues for tempering our policy ambitions. Buttigieg basically said just this, noting that we should not attempt Medicare-for-all because after Trump, our country will be “horrifyingly polarized,” and expanding Medicare voluntarily can achieve universal health care without further exacerbating that polarization.

In short: Too much ambition means more division, and we’ve already got as much of that as we can take.

It’s hard to overstate how fundamentally different a reading that is from that offered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). She declared that the only way Democrats can beat Trump is by “addressing head-on” the fact that “the wealthy and the well-connected have captured our democracy.”

That’s a fairly direct indictment of the caution offered by Buttigieg — and Joe Biden, whose agenda is somewhat more liberal than is commonly acknowledged, but who nonetheless is making his No. 1 mission to “restore” the country’s unity after Trump’s racism tore it apart.

If anything, Bernie Sanders went even more decisively in that direction. He argued that the way to end the “hatred” and “division” inflicted on the country by Trump is with …
… an agenda that works for every man, woman, and child in this country rather than the corporate elite and the 1 percent. A progressive agenda that stands for all is the way that we transform this country.

Transforming the country, Sanders noted, means dealing with the stark facts that “87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured,” that “half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck” and that we face “the existential threat of climate change.”

It’s often suggested that the fundamental divide among Democrats is between those who see Trump as merely a passing aberration — after which something resembling normalcy can be restored — and those who see him as a symptom of much more deeply rooted systemic problems with our economy and democracy.

But the divide might be better expressed this way: It’s between those who think the deep ferment of the moment calls for a combination of some sort of unspecified unifying salve and a promise of minimal post-Trump disruption, and those who see it as an opportunity — to jolt Americans into an awareness that things are so badly off track that we need to try something much bigger.


Maybe those against M4A should watch the Voyager episode “Critical Care” and be placed as the bureaucrat the Doctor infected with a terminal disease and lowered his treatment level to get his point across about medical care for all. To me this episode represents what millions of Americans go thru concerning their health care.


yep. 👍🦜🦜

keeping the status quo, as Pete wants, is part of what’s causing this deep division most people on Medicare realize they are getting a lower tier of care than people in private insurance. We wait longer for procedures done by doctors with less experience, often.And so on. A tiered system is what is breaking this country in half.


most Americans don’t need a jolt and if they had been reporting on Bernie honestly and with half the admiration they give the other candidates, he’d be leading by a mile. Most people want what Bernie wants but are convinced that he is a bad vehicle to get there and that some of the other candidates want exactly what he does. The only people needing a jolt are those in bubbles, perhaps like the writer.


Hubby is convinced the Bernster is too old. He supports just about all his issues but not his age. Oh well.

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