Today's Standard

• July 28, 2017

McCain, McSaw, McConquered

The senator from Arizona puts health reform on indefinite hold.
5:31 AM, Jul 28, 2017
From full repeal to skinny repeal to no repeal. Read more

Mooch and the Digital Fingerprints

White House Watch: The White House communications director gives us perhaps the most surreal moment of the Trump administration.
5:17 AM, Jul 28, 2017
Shortly before publicly making a false accusation against Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci laid into Priebus, White House aide Steve Bannon, and many other White House staff for allegedly leaking and otherwise acting against the interests of President Donald Trump in a phone call with the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. Read more

The Impeachment Fantasy

From the August 7, 2017 issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
5:00 AM, Jul 28, 2017
These are perilous times for understatement and modest expectations. In the age of Trump, even the smallest of things are transmogrified into epoch-defining events. These are the days of mountains out of molehills, “a new low” almost daily, and more proof (as if more were needed) that your political opponents are every bit as debased as—no, even more debased than—you rightly concluded long ago. Read more

Senate Finally Unveils 'Skinny' Repeal

The bill ends the individual mandate and defunds Planned Parenthood, among other measures.
10:51 PM, Jul 27, 2017
The repeal bill is just 8 pages long. Read more

Russia Sanctions Bill Heads to the President's Desk

Senate passes the measure targeting Russia, Iran, and North Korea 98-2.
8:45 PM, Jul 27, 2017
The Trump administration has voiced concern over parts of the legislation, especially a congressional review provision that requires the president to obtain approval before modifying sanctions on the Kremlin. The administration lobbied lawmakers to allow the president more flexibility but those efforts were largely unsuccessful. Read more

Graham Would Support 'Skinny Repeal' Only if the House Doesn't

Senators make the technical, convoluted case for moving health reform forward.
7:19 PM, Jul 27, 2017
Republican senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, and Bill Cassidy told reporters Thursday afternoon that they despise the idea of a “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill—but that they would vote for it on the condition health reform ends up being negotiated further between the House and Senate. Read more

The Half-Caf, Sugar-Free, Skinny Repeal Act of 2017

Why undoing the Affordable Care Act has been a nightmare for the GOP.
5:50 PM, Jul 27, 2017
We’re out of diet puns to describe health insurance reform on Capitol Hill. It seemed likely if not inevitable Wednesday that a “skinny” repeal of Obamacare later this week was Senate Republicans’ best shot of keeping the legislative process alive. Now? Not so much. Read more

That Kushner Interview With a Turkish Paper Really Was Fake News

The reporter has since admitted he made up quotes from the president's son-in-law.
5:12 PM, Jul 27, 2017
A White House official said Yavuz Ataly’s report was a “fake interview that never happened.” Read more

GOP Leadership Touts Tax Reform Plan

Or at least an outline of a plan, one that can pass both the House and the Senate.
4:10 PM, Jul 27, 2017

The so-called “Big Six”—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch—have been meeting to come to agreement the outline of a plan that can pass both houses, while staying true to the president’s promises for tax reform. Apparently, they have succeeded.

 Read more

Bezos Overtakes Gates as World's Richest Man

Amazon's stock surge has dramatically increased his standing in 2017.
3:11 PM, Jul 27, 2017
It’s a symbolic passing of the torch and another reminder of the dynamism of American business. Read more

Scaramucci Wears Women's Sunglasses

The awesomest bro in the White House wears shades made for the "active woman."
2:29 PM, Jul 27, 2017
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on a sunny Tuesday, communications director Anthony Scaramucci threatened an executive branch purge.

“I’m going to fire everybody,” he said. “If they don’t stop leaking, I’m going to put them out on Pennsylvania Avenue.”

All the while, mirrored shades with tortoise-shell temples masked his eyes in Terminator-fashion.

 Read more

Are Millennials Killing Beer Now?

It's not even clear that beer is in danger. But if it is, don't blame young adults.
1:15 PM, Jul 27, 2017
Millennials are responsible for more killings than Jeffrey Dahmer. At this point, my generation—those us born, roughly, between the 1982 and the year 2000—have been accused of killing dinner dates, golf, napkins, running, and Applebees. (OK, that last one is justifiable homicide.) Read more

Derek Harvey Out at NSC

One of the smartest minds on Iraq gets the boot.
11:50 AM, Jul 27, 2017
Derek Harvey, a top Middle East adviser to President Donald Trump, has been fired from his position at the National Security Council, effective today. Harvey, a longtime intelligence professional with vast experience in the Middle East, was a key player in the Trump administration’s Iran policy review and its policy development in Syria, Iraq and other regional hotspots. Read more

The Russia, Iran, North Korea Sanctions Bill Is Moving Ahead

There's one bill where the Senate and the House are in near-total agreement.
11:05 AM, Jul 27, 2017
Lawmakers reached an agreement Wednesday for the Senate to vote on a sweeping sanctions bill that was overwhelmingly approved by the House this week, in a push to promptly get the legislation to the president’s desk. Read more

Politico Reporter: Scaramucci Info Was 'No Leak'

Anthony Scaramucci says Reince Priebus leaked about him. The reporter who wrote the story says this is false.
11:05 AM, Jul 27, 2017
The reporter who published information that White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci claimed was leaked denies that anyone from the administration leaked it to her. Politico reporter Lorraine Woellert reported Wednesday on Scaramucci’s financial disclosure, which Woellert wrote was available “on request.” Read more

The Substandard on Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan Films, and More Tesla

11:00 AM, Jul 27, 2017
On this week’s episode, the Substandard reviews Dunkirk and ranks the Christopher Nolan oeuvre. Sonny hates the beach, JVL hates Tesla even more, and Vic discovers Game of Thrones. Plus Justice League woes and Gene Shalit goes to the IMAX, all on this week’s Substandard! Read more

Elon Musk Wants to End Government Subsidies

But not his, naturally.
9:45 AM, Jul 27, 2017
Tesla honcho Elon Musk is not like Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, or even LeBron James, who made their billions through innovation in a free, fair market. Musk has made his wealth from the taxpayer (if not all, at least a lot of). In a particularly glorious, damning bit of investigative reporting, the Los Angeles Times recently determined that Musk’s empire had been built on almost $5 billion in government subsidies. Read more

Prufrock: Intergalactic Gamma Ray Burst, Siegfried Sassoon's Catholicism, and Matt Groening's New Series

9:30 AM, Jul 27, 2017
The best in books and arts from around the web, including: Man Booker long list, William Desmond and the revolt against beauty, remembering Trisha Brown, and more. Read more

Is Trump Planning on Using a Recess Appointment to Replace Sessions?

White House Watch: The lawyers who fought against Obama's recess appointments are now advising President Trump. Plus, Trump's trans military ban debacle.
7:40 AM, Jul 27, 2017
Two lawyers who argued for curbing the last president’s power to make recess appointments are employed by a current president thinking about doing just that. Read more

Read the Bill

First you read the Obamacare repeal bill. Then you pass it. Not the other way around
7:30 AM, Jul 27, 2017
Even conscientious lawmakers (and there are some) can find it impossible to comprehend every word of every bill they vote for or against. And repealing or reforming a 2,700-page law doesn’t require a wonkish grasp of every detail. Even so, it’s worth remembering that it was the passage of an unread bill in 2009 that created this byzantine mess in the first place. Read more