Quick Takes: Never Send Out a Millionaire to Explain Tax Cuts

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Donald Trump hired a lot of millionaires to work in the White House – especially in positions where their task is to work on the economy and finance. But it is always a mistake to send out a millionaire to explain how your tax plans will help the middle class. Exhibit A: millionaire Gary Cohn.

Round two goes to Cohn as well.

Median income in the U.S. is $59,000.

* Here’s the story about Russia and twitter that we should be following:

Propaganda and other forms of “junk news” on Twitter flowed more heavily in a dozen battleground states than in the nation overall in the days immediately before and after the 2016 presidential election, suggesting that a coordinated effort targeted the most pivotal voters, researchers from Oxford University reported Thursday…

But in 12 battleground states, including New Hampshire, Virginia and Florida, the amount of what they called “junk news” exceeded that from professional news organizations, prompting researchers to conclude that those pushing disinformation approached the job with a geographic focus in hopes of having maximum impact on the outcome of the vote…

Howard said junk news originates from three main sources that the Oxford group has been tracking: Russian operatives, Trump supporters and activists part of the alt-right, a group that includes white nationalists, anti-Semites and others who rail against “political correctness.”

“Those three kinds of organizations shared a lot of content and push a lot of each other’s content,” Howard said. “They worked in concert. They worked to the same ends, the goal being getting polarizing stuff into the swing states.”

* It looks like Republicans are going to let the CHIP program – which insures 9 million children – expire.

After spending most of the month on yet another failed bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act and block-grant Medicaid, Congress is set to leave town without reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or payments for hospitals that serve the uninsured – and without passing a bill to stabilize Obamacare’s individual market, leaving it vulnerable to President Trump’s whims.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who sits on one of the key committees in charge of health care, confirmed to TPM that Congress will likely allow CHIP to lapse by Saturday’s deadline, putting the health insurance of millions of children in jeopardy.

* The feeling I most often have about Trump being POTUS is embarrassment. This exchange with a reporter yesterday is one of those times when the only appropriate response is a facepalm.

REPORTER: First of all, can you explain to us why Sudan was removed [from the travel ban list]? And second of all, how does the travel ban work in North Korea that doesn’t allow their people out of the country?

TRUMP: Well, the people – yeah, the people allowed – certain countries – but we can add countries very easily and we can take countries away.

REPORTER: What did Sudan do right?

TRUMP: And as far as the travel ban is concerned, whatever it is, I want the toughest travel ban you can have. So I’ll see you in Indiana.

* This is the definition of “deplorable.”

* I guess “God’s law” doesn’t include being honest on ethics forms.

Roy Moore, the controversial Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, neglected to disclose as much as $150,000 in income to federal ethics officials, according to a Daily Beast review of public records.

In filings with the Alabama Ethics Commission, Moore, the former chief justice of the state supreme court, listed between $50,000 and $150,000 in honoraria received last year for various speaking engagements. But in a filing with the Senate Ethics Committee two months later, he explicitly denied having received any payments last year “for an article, speech, or appearance.”

* Only the Trumpsters didn’t see this coming:

Farmers from Georgia to California say they have a problem: not enough workers to harvest their crops.

It’s estimated anywhere from half to three-quarters of farmworkers are in this country illegally, and some growers say that President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has made a chronic worker shortage even worse.

* Finally, Steve Chapman shoots and scores!

In a poll, whites were asked whether the NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem are helping or hurting the cause of racial justice. No fewer than 85 percent said they are hurting it.

Clearly, this offense to the anthem and the American flag is the worst possible way to change minds. Blacks need to find a less divisive means to register their discontent.

Oh, wait. I’ve got that wrong. Those figures don’t come from a new poll. They come from a survey taken in 1966 asking whites whether “the demonstrations by Negroes on civil rights have helped more or hurt more in the advancement of Negro rights.”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .