Friday, June 30, 2017

Michelle's Variation


45* told us who he is. 

And it really doesn't bother me so much that 62 million of us bought the bullshit about how he was just being a showman, and he'd pivot to common decency once he's in office.  What grates on my soul is thinking there's a core group of about 20 million who see him pretty much exactly for the bag of sludge that he is, and either they don't care or they actually want a president to act like that.

It could always get worse - don't put anything past this bunch - but it's possible we could be seeing the emergence of the endgame for this tribal crap of Blue Team vs Red Team - my team forever no matter what.

Politics on "the right" has degenerated to where there's no policy argument anymore. There's no real discussion about the relative merits of one approach to dealing with our problems versus another. Too many "conservatives" are thinking the whole point of the exercise is to make statements that are simply intended to get "a Libtard mad enough to cry.

Cruise a few comments sections with that in mind and score it out.

A Grand Idea

Overheard on YouTube:

I can't imagine how it hasn't occurred to someone in the White House at some point in the last 4 months, but wouldn't it be great if they slipped a letter of resignation into one of those Executive Order folders? He'd sign it blindly - like he does everything else - and boom; new president.


But then, President Pence. So yeah - we're fucked.

Today's Tweet



Today's Pix












Thursday, June 29, 2017

Take A Break And Stay At It



My fave is #5.

These are dumb times and dumb times often call for tireless marathons of beer and donuts and naps — and definitely do those things from time to time! — but also, like, eat some fucking vegetables, get some exercise, get some rest. Trust me, I get it, pretty much every day I hit a period where I’m like, “The best thing I can do right now would be to drink whiskey until I stop recognizing the world,”

Pro-Life = Dead Women


Criminalizing abortion doesn't stop abortion - it just makes it more dangerous.

Jennifer Wright, Harper's Bazaar

The Trump administration may be the most fervently anti-abortion since Reagan.

This will likely come as a surprise to every man who, prior to Trump’s election, assured me, “don’t worry, he’s really a democrat! He’s not going to do anything about abortion!”

It seems you guys were wrong.

Trump has reinstated the global gag rule, preventing funding for overseas reproductive health organizations that offer abortion related services. Closer to home, Trump signed a bill on April 13 that allows states to cut off funding from organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions. He has suggested that federal funding could continue to go to the women’s health organization only if they stopped performing abortions.

All of this falls under the banner of a “pro-life” agenda.

Indeed, Vice President Mike Pence and counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, both spoke enthusiastically at the March for Life. There, the Vice President proclaimed, “We will not rest until we restore a culture of life in America.”

Perhaps when people enact these laws, they imagine what a world with more restrictive abortion rights—or a “culture of life”—looks like. I do not think these people are evil. I suspect they have a vision of a world that is flawed. I think when they imagine that world of outlawed abortions, they imagine a world full of adorable, bouncing babies. They imagine happy mothers, and fathers who are, unexpectedly, delighted and doting fathers.

That is not reality
.

The impulse to restrict a woman's access to the full range of health services (including abortion) is dumb for a mess of good reasons - not the least of which is that the decision to have kids or not to have kids belongs to whoever gets pregnant.

If you prefer the clear-eyed pragmatic approach, then another reason is plain old ordinary economics. It's cheaper and way more cost-effective to prevent the problems caused by unwanted pregnancies. And going with workable measures that actually lower the need for abortion is way better than the bullshit law-n-order "solutions" either in place now, or being proposed to remedy those problems.

BTW - "workable" and "abstinence only" are incompatible. Remember - total abstinence wasn't 100% effective even for god.

Allow me to reiterate the basics on this:
  • Eggs ain't chickens
  • Caterpillars ain't butterflies
  • Ain't nuthin' goin' on in my daughter's uterus that's any of your fuckin' business
  • So fuck the fuck off, you pinch-faced blue-nosed puritanical fuck

John Oliver Redux

I'm a recovering Radical Randite. It took me a long time to get past that shit, because (I tho't) it was working for me. It wasn't. It doesn't. It can't because it's a contradiction - and just like Ms Rand always said: Contradictions exist, but they can't prevail.

Samantha




Today's Bamboozle

45* knows he can feed dis-information to the rubes directly, so most of them won't ever hear anything that runs counter to what he needs them to hear - what they already believe anyway - which is what he continues to reinforce, and why he's working so hard trying to freeze out traditional corporate media.

Vox:

What you’re looking at is a massive cut in Medicaid spending. In 2026, the Better Care Reconciliation Act would cut Medicaid spending by about $160 billion, and end Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to low-income Americans.

As my colleague Sarah Kliff writes:

The Senate bill begins to phase out the Medicaid expansion in 2021 — and cuts the rest of the program’s budget too. The Senate bill would end the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to millions of low-income Americans. This program has provided coverage to more Americans than the private marketplaces

It would also cut the rest of the public insurance program. Better Care would also limit government spending on the rest of the Medicaid program, giving states a set amount to spend per person rather than the insurance program’s currently open-ended funding commitment.


Ultimately, the Congressional Budget Office projects 15 million people would lose coverage with the repeal of Medicaid expansion.

So it’s incredibly misleading for the president to claim that Senate Republicans are increasing funding for Medicaid.


This is pretty typical of the Faux Conservative crapola they've been peddling for a long time. It's a variation on one of their favorite themes - "tax revenue goes up when tax rates come down".  So it follows that the rubes will internalize this new crapola and adopt it as part of their catechism - "cutting Medicaid funding now increases Medicaid spending in the long term."

Yeah, OK. And the best way to fill a bath tub is to open the drain and turn one of the faucets off.

A smiling hyena will still eat your children

These people have no soul and no honor.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Today's Winner


From HuffPo, this one wins the internet for today:

I don’t know how to explain to someone why they should care about other people.
--and--

There are all kinds of practical, self-serving reasons to raise the minimum wage (fairly compensated workers typically do better work), fund public schools (everyone’s safer when the general public can read and use critical thinking), and make sure every American can access health care (outbreaks of preventable diseases being generally undesirable).

But if making sure your fellow citizens can afford to eat, get an education, and go to the doctor isn’t enough of a reason to fund those things, I have nothing left to say to you.


...establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...

How does "I'm good, fuck y'all" fit with the basics of our founding document?

Strike A Blow For Freedom


So there was a little cleanup necessary in Little Rock...


...because

Charlie Gets It


On AHCA, Charlie Pierce at Esquire:

If you put credence into the notion that the Senate bill has an upside because of its effect on The Deficit, hire someone to cut your meat for you for the rest of your life. Try to keep in mind the Blog's First Law of Economics: Fck the deficit. People got no jobs, people got no money.

There isn't a single promise that the president* made on this issue during the campaign that this new tax-cut law doesn't smash to smithereens. The CBO says this bill will knock 15 million people off their insurance next year. That's horrendous. The whole bill is about allowing Medicaid to die on the vine. The CBO says that the Medicaid cut that all those Republicans say is imaginary will top out at $772 billion.

Keith


Word O' The Day: Treachery


A Good Sign

Yesterday, on my way to see about a girl, I happened across the folks of Indivisible Charlottesville who were out in front of the Albemarle County office building to raise a bit of a ruckus - in a purely relaxed-n-groovy kinda way.


You can always tell when it's the Liberals doin' the demonstratin' - the signs are all spelled right.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Today's Tweet



There is no pimpier pimp than Newton Leroy (McPherson) Gingrich

Call It Progress - I Guess(?)

Miami Herald

The good news is: the kid wasn't shot.


The bad news is: that's what passes for good news now - that some asshole white cop didn't murder some knucklehead brown kid.

It's unbelievable, but that qualifies as a positive outcome.



Keith

The Doomsday Defense


Nobody Does It Better


Bill Moyers, on the NYT piece about all of 45*'s lies in one graphic:

This weekend, The New York Times performed a noble public service by publishing nearly every lie Donald Trump has told since taking the oath of office (just four months and a few days ago, but it seems like an eternity, no?). The op-ed chart of tiny but readable font fills the entire page, until at one point, in the mind’s eye, they appear to morph into termites burrowing deep into the foundation of democracy, leaving sawdust in their wake.

“We are using the word ‘lie’ deliberately. Not every falsehood is deliberate on Trump’s part. But it would be the height of naivete to imagine he is merely making honest mistakes. He is lying.”

And it all ties in with White Fright and the resurgence of race-based political coercion.


(paraphrasing): "A black man in the White House shattered all the little lies we'd been telling ourselves, and the way you set things right again is to put the Big Lie back in place."


I go to this one a lot. Because there's a basic truth about the history of USAmerica Inc that we can't change no matter how we insist on trying.



Mr Trudeau

Here's a picture of PM Justin Trudeau at a Pride Day event, wearing rainbow socks and a pink shirt, high-fiving a young girl dressed as a Wonder Woman ballerina.


Anyone else starting to get the feeling Canada's just kinda fuckin' with us now?

Monday, June 26, 2017

It Can't Be

And yet it is.

But now, at what we hope is the end of a long slouch into The Daddy State - where we can catch ourselves and start to put things right just before we get to the big Car Chase / Running Gunfight / Thrilling Rescue Sequence with Exploding Galaxies - this is where we get Charlie Pierce having to write this:


So this Mangushev character starts a motorcycle gang among his fellow Russian expats that he names after the Russian equivalent of the special forces. This gang, named after the Russian special forces, seeks the imprimatur of an actual Russian biker gang that, unlike their American brethren, doesn't settle for tearing up small towns along the California coast. This bunch helps overthrow governments. This is not a guy I'd do business with but, then again, I'm not Igor Zorin, with his millions buried in coffee cans in his backyard.

Keith


What if 45* actually fires Mueller?


Walking Into The Propeller



driftglass

...reminding us (just in case you're still a little unclear on the concept) that if we don't learn our History, then we don't learn from our History.  Particularly, how to keep from making the same fucking mistakes over and over and over again.

Take it away driftglass (@Mr_Electrico)

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan killed something called The Fairness Doctrine:
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was — in the Commission's view — honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC, which was believed to have been under pressure from then President Ronald Reagan, eliminated the Doctrine in 1987.
For the record, the two federal judges who helped Reagan kill the Fairness Doctrine were future-Supreme Court incubus Antonin Scalia, and disgraced Nixon henchman Robert Bork.  After helping to hold down the Fairness Doctrine while Reagan smothered it, both men went on to enjoy long and fruitful careers as wingnut icons and ruiners of American democracy.

driftglass almost always runs a little long, but that's cuz he drinks good Scotch and he knows things. And there's a shitload to know, so it can take a while for him to recount it all for us.

Learn a little sumpthin'.

Today's Tweet


Minimizing


And so the next phase begins. The task at DumFux News now is to make sure the rubes have reason to stay convinced there's nothing wrong with 45* getting up with the Russkies to rat-fuck the election, which means there's nothing to investigate, which means the Dems are just bullying the noble GOP for strictly political purposes - the usual bullshit about people who're in the Majority; people who hold all the levers of power; they're the real victims.

And I think I may have mentioned it before, but a lot of 45*'s apologists are concentrating on the word "collusion", apparently believing it gives them weasel room because "collusion isn't a crime".


Two things - first, we have to give POTUS a lot of leeway to do the job. But that means the president has to conduct business at a level of honorability that's way above what mere mortals have to abide by. 

So there may be nothing specific prohibiting a behavior, but that doesn't automatically mean there's absolutely nothing wrong with that behavior. And there's no doubt in my mind that cooperating with a foreign government's illegal efforts to fuck up an election - or just looking the other way - is as bad as it gets for anybody wielding such great power.

Second, you don't need to commit a criminal act to be guilty of Abuse of Power, Obstruction of Justice, Witness Intimidation and/or Witness Tampering, etc etc etc.

One last bit - I'm thinking the Press Poodles oughta start asking Repubs (eg: Lindsay Graham):
You guys got all het up to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about Monica Lewinski giving him a blowjob in the 90s. Here we have 45* lying about giving blowjobs to practically everybody with an office in the Kremlin, and that's a big collective yawn for ya. Can you explain the difference for us?

Just wonderin'.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Manufactured Illiteracy

We hear it everywhere - "HyperPartisanship" and "The polarizing effect of everything having become over-politicized".

But the piece cited below points out how we're not "over-politicized" at all - just the opposite.

This is all about freezing as many of us in the middle as possible by doing whatever it takes to get a majority of us to react with, "Politics is fucked up - leave me out of it - I don't want anything to do with it cuz both sides are just as bad" and blah blah blah.

Billions of dollars are spent every year on advertising - commercial or political or the 24/7 GOP Pimpworks known as DumFux News. The people making the decisions to spend those billions are not stoopid people, and they don't spend that kinda money on something that doesn't work.


This thing is chock full of juicy nuggets.

Henry Giroux via Salon:

The reality of Trump’s election may be the most momentous development of the age because of its enormity and the shock it has produced. The whole world is watching, pondering how such a dreadful event could have happened. How have we arrived here? What forces have allowed education, if not reason itself, to be undermined as crucial public and political resources, capable of producing the formative culture and critical citizens that could have prevented such a catastrophe from happening in an alleged democracy? We get a glimpse of this failure of education, public values and civic literacy in the willingness and success of the Trump administration to empty language of any meaning, a practice that constitutes a flight from historical memory, ethics, justice and social responsibility.

--and--

Truth is now viewed as a liability and ignorance a virtue. Under the reign of this normalized architecture of alleged common sense, literacy is regarded with disdain, words are reduced to data and science is confused with pseudo-science. All traces of critical thought appear only at the margins of the culture as ignorance becomes the primary organizing principle of American society. For instance, two-thirds of the American public believe that creationism should be taught in schools and a majority of Republicans in Congress do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity, making the U.S. the laughing stock of the world. Politicians endlessly lie, knowing that the public can be easily seduced by exhortations, emotional outbursts and sensationalism, all of which mimic the fatuous spectacle of celebrity culture and reality TV. Image-selling now entails lying on principle, making it easier for politics to dissolve into entertainment, pathology and a unique brand of criminality.

--and--

The corruption of both the truth and politics is abetted by the fact that much of the American public has become habituated to overstimulation and lives in an ever-accelerating overflow of information and images. Experience no longer has the time to crystallize into mature and informed thought. Opinion now trumps reason and evidence-based arguments. News has become entertainment and echoes reality rather than interrogating it. Popular culture revels in the spectacles of shock and violence. Defunded and corporatized, many institutions of public and higher education have been all too willing to make the culture of business the business of education, and this transformation has corrupted their mission.

--and--

I am pointing to a more lethal form of manufactured illiteracy that has become a scourge and a political tool designed primarily to make war on language, meaning, thinking and the capacity for critical thought. Chris Hedges captures this demagogic attack on thoughtfulness in stating that “the emptiness of language is a gift to demagogues and the corporations that saturate the landscape with manipulated images and the idioms of mass culture.” Freedom now means removing one’s self from any sense of social responsibility so one can retreat into privatized orbits of self-indulgence, unbridled self-interest and the never-ending whirlwind of consumption.

--and--

This updated form of illiteracy does not simply constitute an absence of learning, ideas or knowledge. Nor can it be solely attributed to what has been called the “smartphone society.” On the contrary, it is a willful practice and goal used to actively depoliticize people and make them complicit with the political and economic forces that impose misery and suffering upon their lives. At the same time, illiteracy bonds people: It offers the pretense of a community bound by a willful denial of facts and its celebration of ignorance.

Senator Franken

Today's Quote


“If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Well Well


Vox:

A majority of Americans, 51 percent, have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, the law’s highest mark ever in the seven-year tracking poll; 41 percent said they had an unfavorable view.
--and--

Half of Americans also said they thought they would be better off if Obamacare remained the law of the land, versus 36 percent who thought they would be better off under the Republican bill.

I'll make one radical assumption by saying: Maybe a bunch of the Leftie Purists managed to get their heads outa their asses long enough to stop insisting that "fucked over completely" is somehow better than "fucked over a little (or even a lot)".

The main thing here, Lefties, is that you don't get to prescribe punishment for me in order to pressure me into serving your political goals.

There is nothing good about losing what we gained with Obamacare because it just doesn't go far enough to satisfy your pixie-dusted dreams of unicorns and universality.

There is no silver lining in having 45* as POTUS. Damage is being done to our institutions that will take decades (if not generations) to repair.

So if you think the shit we're going thru now, and the shit yet to come, is all good in the end because it's sure to transform the voting public into good little Liberals, then y'all can go fuck yourself with a horny toad.


Like Mother Blue Gal always tells us:
When you win, you chop wood and carry water.
When you lose, you chop wood and carry water.

(I'll add my bit to the end of that):

When you get some of what you want, but not everything,

You chop the fucking wood and you carry the fucking water.

Rachel



Rachel Maddow via Stitcher (audio only) - the A Block is good and long and ties things together pretty well:

Obama Speaks



Obama's remarks on the AHCA via Facebook:

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.



Try Not To Forget

In all the political brouhaha, especially the Blue Team vs Red Team tribal bullshit, and even more especially the Both-Sides bullshit, there's something that needs to be kept in mind here:

Rage from the right end of the political spectrum gave us the KKK, Atlas Shrugged and Dick Nixon.

Rage from the left gave us Molly IvinsSocial Security and the Weekend.

Today's Tweet



Senator Whitehouse brings it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Today's Deep Thought

Not knowing how much there is to know leads to the false belief that you know more than you do, 
and to the desire to prove it in public.

Keith


To tape or not to tape.



Today's Charlie


Charlie Pierce at Esquire:

I try. Lord knows how I try. I try to maintain a certain equilibrium about all of my fellow citizens. We're all in this great democratic experiment together, after all. I think we have an obligation as a self-governing democratic republic to make government work best for all our people. I believe in the idea of a political commonwealth, and in the political commons to which we all have a right and in which we all have a stake. Economic anxiety in de-industrialized America is very real and it is a real danger to all of what we can achieve together. It is now, and it was in 1980, when I drove from Youngstown to Toledo to Flint to Grand Rapids as we wound into the election that brought us Ronald Reagan.

(So, by the way, is the intractable poverty of people, working class and otherwise, who are not white.)

So, I try. Lord knows how I try.

But what am I supposed to do when so many of my fellow citizens guzzle snake oil by the gallon and call it champagne?

I think what hangs us up the most is that we're all clinging rather desperately to the Presumption of Regularity.  We need something that looks and feels more like normal. So we project that need onto an awful lot of what's going on.  Especially with 45* making such forceful and deliberate efforts to vacate the norm.

Add it all up and we're danger-close to a charge of False Consciousness, but what else we got?

AHCA



75% of us are on record saying we don't want ACA repealed. We want it fixed and strengthened.

What's the big bugbear according to Business "conservatives"?  Uncertainty.  

You really can't make a case that AHCA does anything at all to make Americans feel more certain. Especially the way the Repubs are going about it.

But, hey at least they've given us a chance to see it before they jam it up our collective ass. 

The AHCA was released today - in all it's 142 page glory.



I haven't slogged all the way thru it yet, but so far, it's a little like the old bit about watching the original Star Trek - everybody knows the young guy you don't recognize (usually a Red Shirt) will be dead before the opening credits.  And 4 or 5 minutes after that first commercial, you'll know the gist of the story because there's only a handful of themes (kinda like this little blog here), and it always works out just fine for the Executive Elite (not at all like this little blog).  Which frees you up so you can go do something worthwhile - like picking fly shit outa your pepper shaker.

Anyway, so it is with practically everything these GOP boneheads come up with.  They put a nice face on it, but it's pretty much always about taking tax dollars from you and me, and putting them into the pockets of their in-laws, their lobby pals, and their campaign contributors.

It's money laundering. Why do you think the GOP in congress is doing nothing about 45*?  When it comes to washing money, he's one of the best - they're too busy taking lessons from this jagoff.

If you wanna know about a problem here in USAmerica Inc, look to who benefits from the continuing existence of the problem, or who profits from "solving" it. 

If you work it just right, you can get a 2-fer, like The War On Drugs and Coin-Operated Prisons.


AHCA is off to a good start in that regard. The Insurers get to go back to the bad ol' days of a Pick-n-Choose customer base, plus they get to siphon bunches of dollars out of the Treasury by playing in the High Risk Pool.  And that's just the shit I can see from here.

The rich get richer and the rest of us get fucked with our pants on.