Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, March 31, 2017

Flipping Flynn

I honestly don't know what to make of it, so just read Josh Marshall.

Fake News!

Steve Stockman was always a wretched little shit.  Now, he's not only indicted, but he's demonstrating how the right wing turns every accusation on its head.  Again, projection is so powerful on the right.  They are uniquely corrupt in these incidents (Democrats are mostly lechers) and so they project such nefarious deeds onto Democrats, or in Stockman's case, he conflates his situation with Trump's.

These people....

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Please Proceed, Dipshit

Trump should do more than direct Twittergasms of rage at the Freedumb Caucus.

He should start a new political party, the American Party, that resides in his special little place on the political spectrum: angry white dude shouting at clouds.  They should try and run a candidate in as many swing and safe districts as possible.

That will learn them....

Face, Meet Palm

Claire McCaskill has a tough job winning elections in Missouri as a Democrat.  However, it's tough to see the logic in her desire to avoid a filibuster of Neil Gorsuch.

It's this simple:

Option A: Filibuster Gorsuch and the GOP eliminates the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

Option B: "Keep your powder dry" for the NEXT opening, presumably a liberal or centrist jurist, and filibuster THAT person....and the GOP then eliminates the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

There is no option that allows the Democrats to prevent the seating of a far right ideologue like Neil Gorsuch as long as they have 50 or fewer votes in the Senate.  And I doubt there is a road to 51 seats in the Senate that doesn't involve fighting Trumpism tooth and nail.


Here is a really handy definition of what populism is.  It isn't "popular."

What is important is that populism's focus on the "people" over "elites" makes representative government dysfunctional, unless you channel the "popular will" through a charismatic leader who can claim to represent the people.  This is why most demagogues are populists.

It's also why a guy like Trump is going to fail.  He can't "run the government" because he's fundamentally at odds with the idea of representative government.  And then his policies are increasingly at odds with what "the people" want.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Chaos Caucus

Here's a legit question: Given the fractious nature of the GOP House right now and the inability of Trump to "lead" in any normal sense, what are the odds that we get a government shutdown with the GOP controlling the House, Senate and White House?

Right now, I'd say it's unlikely but not improbable, even if it's only for a few days.

The key figure does look to be Nancy Pelosi.  Ryan and Trump may very well need Democratic votes to keep the government open and even to avoid default on the debt.  Pelosi would be well within her rights to demand something in return.  Devin Nunes' scalp?  A patch for Obamacare?

Stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wavy Gravy

I spent some time looking at congressional districts and their Cook Partisan Voting Index.  The CPVI is basically an attempt to measure whether a district or state leans one way or another and by how much.  It's not flawless, but it's a metric people use.  I then looked at ten states to see how many Republicans represented districts with a CPVI or R+10 or better.  In other words, which districts tilted to the GOP by ten points or less.

The reason I did so is because midterms elections are usually referenda on the sitting president and Trump's numbers are atrocious.  This sets up the conditions for a "wave election."  Roughly speaking a "wave" overrides both the CPVI and the advantages of incumbency.

Here are the 12 states: CA, VA, PA, MI, OH, WI, CO, FL, NY and NJ.

Here is what I found if we just take seats in D+ or even CPVI:

California flips four seats to Democrats, New York flips three, Colorado, Virginia and New Jersey all flip one for a total of ten seats.  This is significant, because CA, NY and NJ are strong lean Democratic states and Virginia and Colorado are toss-ups.  The overall culture of the state can matter a great deal.  I would expect most if not all of those ten seats to flip in 2018, unless Trump's fortunes reverse by a huge amount.  I mean a YUUUGE amount.

What about the "lean Republican" districts with a CPVI of R+5 or lower?  That adds 3 more to CA, 5 more to NY and 2 more to VA and 1 more each to NJ and CO.  However, it also adds the following states: OH flips 2 seats, but FL and WI flip 4 each, PA flips 5 and MI flips 7.  That's a total of 32 more seats.

So a wave that wipes away the 5 point partisan/incumbent advantage puts 42 House seats in play.  Go up to a 7 point wave and that adds 2 more from PA and MI, 3 more from NJ and 5 each from FL and OH.  That's 17 more seats.

Democrats need to flip 24 seats in 2018 to hand the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi.  If they flip those first 10 seats, half the "lean Republican" districts and a third of the "strong lean" Republican districts, that's 31 seats.

This is very inexact, as it fails to account for the shifting demographics of WWC and suburban, college educated whites, who are moving in opposite partisan directions under Trump.  But it's better than saying "Democrats have to win the 'National Popular Vote for the House' by 7%."  Because what Democrats have to do is create a wave overrides the partisan and natural gerrymandering present in today's House.  That is best measured district by district.

But one thing it definitely should suggest is that Democrats have a real shot - at this point in time - of taking back the House.  This is especially true because they have some very winnable seats in CA and NY, where the cultural tide is working against the GOP.  There are additional <R+5 seats in AZ (2), IL(5), IA (2), ME, MN (2), NE, NV, NM, TX, WA (2).  That adds 18 more seats in play, some of which are in fertile ground, like Illinois, Washington and Minnesota.

And this is where getting WWC voters to turn on Trump could make for an historic wave election.  Because right now, they are the only group still supporting him.  Secondly, Democrats need to start recruiting and training candidates NOW.

Why Electing Morons Matters

To be fair, the issue of Artificial Intelligence and job loss isn't something the Obama Administration actively dealt with.  However, the real crisis is just over the horizon, and Trump is completely clueless about it. In fact, Trump's political success can largely be attributed to his exploitation of worker angst over job losses and tying that to trade and immigration, when technology is about as much to blame.  Since Trump can never be wrong, turning his focus to AI seems a remote possibility.

Immediately after the election, I suggested a way for Democrats to reach out to WWC voters was to put forth state-by-state bans on AI-driven commercial vehicles.  This could obviously run into constitutional problems regarding interstate trade, but even that would force the issue into the national conversation.

Democrats had a big "negative" win in defeating the American Shit Sandwich Act.  They should put forth an agenda to protect American truckers and let Republicans argue against it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

"Run Like A Business"

The tired mantra that we need a President who can run America like a business is about to get its acid test.  Der Obergropenfuhrer just went to his Cabinet of Nepotism and plucked Jared Kushner to lead his equivalent of Al Gore's National Performance Review. 

A few thoughts.

First, Al Gore has one big advantage over Kushner.  He's not a neophyte with no governing experience.  Gore knew how government function - and what's more important - why government should function.  He understood that government actions were intended to help as many people as possible, but that there were efficiency problems. But in the end, the point of the NPR was make government work better and more efficiently AS GOVERNMENT.  It's unclear that Trump's Gang That Can't Shoot Straight even understands how government works, much less why it should work.

Second, Kushner is supposed to lead a SWAT team of high profile business execs to come up with solutions.  Again, this is treating the bureaucracy as the opposing camp, which is natural for business leaders to do.  There's dynamic tension that's healthy between the private and public sector; each has a role to play.  But once you eliminate that tension by giving all the power to private sector actors, you create real problems.

Third, who is going to want to work the Trump White House?  Names in article mentioned Tim Cook, Bill Gates and Elon Musk.  These are Democratic donors.  What's more, the demographic disadvantage that Democrats labor under - the Dems are clustered in cities - also means that Democrats control a large portion of the consumer economy.  Every time a business leader cozies up to Trump, he gets boycotted.  Look at Uber.

Fourth, as I'm typing this a news flash notes that Jared Kushner is being swept up into the Russia probe, because he's the only person Trump really seems to trust and was used as a go-between at several instances.

Trump has filled almost none of the administrative positions he needs to.  Whenever he wants something important done, he outsources it to Jared Kushner.  Jared Kushner is just as incompetent as Trump, though at least he does not appear to be as mentally and emotionally stunted as his boss.

This isn't "bold reform."  This is more nepotism and likely more incompetence and certainly yet another huge giveaway to the 1% at the expense of those Working Class, Economically Anxious voters who gave us this shitshow.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Long Game

To make a difference in DC, you have to be able to see the long game.  Obama saw the long game.  McConnell sees it.

Donald Trump does not see it.

Right now, he's attacking Paul Ryan through surrogates for the failure of the American Shit Sandwich Act.  He's also attacking important conservative interest groups.  This is because he is a petulant child.

If Lord Smallgloves Babypants goes after Ryan more directly, exactly why should Paul Ryan protect Donald Trump?  It would start with Ryan ruefully - he does fake sincerity SOOOO well - saying that, indeed, Devin Nunes is a hack, and we need an independent, bipartisan commission to look into this Russia thing.  It ends with the complete rupture of the GOP caucus.

However, there are GOP Congressmen who get the long game.

Keep an eye on Tom Cotton.  He established his wingnut bona fides early.  He's already moving to the center - at least rhetorically - to emerge from the wreckage of the Trump Regency.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Coming Civil War In The GOP

For years, the coalition that creates the modern GOP has been fractious.  The Wall Street Republicans and the Main Street Republicans are standing aside, aghast and agog, at the Theocratic Republicans and the John Birch/Tea Party Republicans.  What is unclear is where Paul Ryan fits into this coalition.  Wall Street loves him, but it seems both Main Street and the JB/TP wings hate him - or at least his American Shit Sandwich Health Care Act.

Ryan only became Speaker when no one else could or would do the job.  He shrewdly played coy with the idea and forced certain conditions before taking the gavel.  Now it looks as if Ryan has a full scale revolt on his hand.

Martin Longman as a logical but implausible plan for Trump to salvage his presidency.  Trump could cobble together a legislative coalition to pass some things he has said he's interested in: more and better health care coverage; infrastructure; maybe even a border tax.  The problem - as demonstrated by the American Shit Sandwich Health Care Act is that we have no idea what Trump really cares about.  This bill violated every promise he made and he still supported it.  Why?

The GOP has an increasingly unpopular president at the head of an increasingly unpopular agenda.  Then there is the Russia scandal percolating over to the side.

We are barely more than two months into this....

Friday, March 24, 2017

Round Two Of Healthcare Thunderdome

Today, the GOP demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that they are unfit and unable to govern.  In some ways this is the perfect marriage of Trump and Ryan.

However, the fight over the ACA isn't over.

Trump is nothing if not a vindictive prick.  It's essentially his defining characteristic. He is now vowing to destroy the Affordable Care Act markets.  Tom Price could grant every manner of exemptions to Red States to create dysfunctional markets, presumably they could work actively make the markets worse and slow walk any easy fixes.

The assumption is that if the Affordable Care Act implodes, this will hurt the Democrats who wrote the law.

This fundamentally mistakes how low information voters process events and make decisions.  If their health care sucks, they will blame the President - especially the President who promised them "the best healthcare" and then spent a month defining his presidency with the Shit Sandwich Healthcare Act of 2017.  It doesn't matter the intricacies of policy making in DC or how the markets are being regulated or the feasibility of insurers to offer good premiums in rural markets.

Republicans run the government.  Republicans will get the blame.

Some Republicans - especially at the state level - might begin to work within the framework of Obamacare, now that Obama isn't president.

But the fight over this bill isn't exactly over.  It will remain on the books until a Democratic President and Congress can fix it, but the GOP hasn't finishing swatting at this particular pinata.

Amateur Hour

Today...maybe...I guess...Republican lemmings will plummet off the cliff that Paul Ryan and Donald Trump have led them to.  Most of them will wind up voting for a bill that an overwhelming majority of Americans disapprove of. Precisely the same sort of partisan loyalty that we are seeing from Devin Nunes will sweep dozens of GOP members of Congress off the precipice.

The desire to have a vote without really knowing what is in the bill is a great example of how Republicans have been poisoned by their own bullshit.  Seven years ago, Nancy Pelosi said that people would have to vote on the bill to find out what was in the bill.  What she meant was that the system had to be in place - providing health care for people - before you could really know how it would affect you as an individual.  Fox turned this into a lie that no one knew what was in the bill because it was a secret and/or SOOOOOOOO long.  Obamacare was debated and negotiated over for a full year.

Trumpcare/Ryancare is being forced through the system so fast there is no reasonable ability of the CBO to score it.  This is categorically not what happened with ACA, though there are a considerable amount of right wing lies on this score.    The reason it is being forced on the House is that Trump "has the attention span of a tsetse fly with a concussion."  He's bored with health care ("Who knew it could be so complicated?") and wants to get back to winning and being the best and playing golf and pretending his father and various wives really loved him.  The fact that this bill is the exact opposite of what he assured his ardent fans seems not to faze him.

Paul Ryan made the decision to push AHCA so he could get larger tax cuts in his plan to destroy the New Deal/Great Society state.  Despite his reputation as a "deep policy thinker" Paul Ryan is really no more than a typically conservative who spend too many hours as an adolescent pretending he was John Galt and masturbating to fantasies of Dagny Taggart.  He is able to project a sort of hang-dog sincerity that masks an almost sociopathic desire to strip people of government benefits, including the very sort of benefits that sent him to college.

While you should never underestimate the ability of GOP Congressmen to swallow the party line, I would be surprised if AHCA passes today.  At some point, the combination of naked self-interest and ideological rigidity will peel away quite a few votes.  It will be interesting to see whether - if the bill is headed to certain defeat - GOP members will change their votes to "no."  Why have a vote for this shit sandwich on your record?  So, it either passes by a vote or three or it might go down by 50 votes.  And if it passes, it dies in the Senate.

There you have the 2017 GOP.  They control the White House, the Senate, the House and are about to control the Supreme Court.  They have trampled the institutional and governing norms that ran Washington for centuries.  They have campaigned for 7 years against the ACA.

And they can't achieve shit.

Good job, Republicans.  Good job.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jon Chait, Friend Of The Blog

Apparently, Jon Chait reads my blog, since he addresses the exact phenomenon I wrote about yesterday: the failure of an agreed upon objective reality.

Chait couches it in different language, however.  He notes that what Trump is basically engaging in is authoritarianism.  Trump can determine what the truth is because Trump is president and you're not.

Trump's motivation for lying repeatedly and unapologetically is actually really important.  If he's lying because he wants to bend the country - or at least the third of the country who really, really likes him - to his vision of reality, then he's an authoritarian.  If he's "gaslighting" the country, he's the con man we all know him to be.  Or, perhaps, he believes his lies.

If the last option is true - if Trump believes what he's saying because he's president and he's Trump - then Trump is psychotic.  I know the Goldwater Rule says you can't diagnose a public figure from a remove, but I'm not a psychiatrist.  Plus, seeing and believing things that aren't real is pretty much an agreed upon definition of psychosis.

I guess the question is whether Trump gets removed by impeachment for colluding with the Russians to undermine American democracy or whether he gets removed by the 25th Amendment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Crisis 2.0

Apparently now GOP members of Congress are actively committing crimes to protect Twitler.

The Crisis

I was on the road Monday and not able to keep up with James Comey (of all people) basically inform us that the FBI and Justice Department feel it's very possible that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians to help win the election.  To a certain degree - to an observant person looking at the Trump campaign - this is unexpected.  Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn all have deep and important connections to Putin's government and the cronies that surround him.  So when Comey said there was an ongoing investigation, my first response was..."No shit."  We've also heard secondhand accounts of senior members of Congress being briefed behind closed doors and coming away ashen faced and disturbed.  There is more than smoke here.

Let's take a moment to clarify: I don't personally believe that Trump was involved with Russia, in the conspiratorial sense.  His management style is "hand off" in the extreme.  It isn't that he was working hand in tiny, tiny glove with the FSB, but rather that he hired guys like Manafort, Stone and Flynn to work on his campaign precisely because they have the same worldview he does; this is a worldview that is very sympathetic to Moscow. Trump didn't tell them to work with Russia, but their shared admiration for Russia and Russians led inevitably to this situation. Again, that Trump is close to many Russians is incredibly clear from available evidence.  That alone doesn't make him guilty of anything.  All it did was create a worldview sympathetic to very dangerous and illiberal regime, which led him to hire men who are very much tied to that regime.

And then Moscow helped him win.

I don't think anything that I've said above is contradicted by the public record.  Whether this is "bigger than Watergate" remains to be seen, but it's already the biggest scandal since Iran Contra, unless you count the lies that led us into Iraq as a "scandal" or how you feel about presidential blow jobs.  It does not figure to get smaller from here.

However, having said that we certainly seem to be in a place where a foreign and hostile power helped throw the election to the loser of the popular vote is not the scariest thing about this week.

What was terrifying to me was the behavior of the GOP Congressmen who were questioning Comey.

From the beginning to the end, their primary concern was on those who were leaking information about Trump, Trump's people and Russia to the press.  In other words, they were more concerned about the people making Trump look bad than the possibility that Russia tilted the election towards their favorite candidate with the active collusion of the Trump campaign.

I mean...holy shit.  THAT'S what you're worried about?

David Roberts has a long read about the level of epistemlogical closure on the Right.  It is worth your time.  I'll wait....

The primary focus of the piece is on what the media should do in the current environment of post-factual America.  Ironically, while he rightly focuses on the corrosive effect of "fake news" and hyper-partisan, conspiratorial media (and rightly places much of that on the Right), he neglects to really connect it to actual governance.

He makes the point that the Right basically gave up on a central tenet of liberal democracy: agreed upon objective facts. He also rightly points to Gingrich and Fox News and the primary vehicles for this.  This means two big things: there is no inoculation possible once you have the disease and the disease makes you do bad things.

First, once you believe that all the media lies and all politicians lie, then you won't believe the Washington Post, when they report something you disagree with.  You can find a contradictory story on InfoWars or Breitbart, so there libtards!  Because facts themselves are up for debate, who cares what the facts say?  I remember having a brief online argument about the unemployment rate with a Trump supporter.  He basically said that the Labor Department was lying, because they wanted to help Obama (and Clinton).  Because they had a motive, they naturally committed the deed.  There simply was no factual information, no agreed upon reality that I could draw on to contradict his firmly held belief.  I mean, why wouldn't Obama tell the Labor Department to warp the unemployment rate?  I mean aside from the laws and norms that govern American politics.

The problem is that the modern GOP simply does not give a shit about those rules and norms.  Since projection is perhaps their most powerful psychological force, they naturally assume that liberals don't care either.  There is no "good faith" common ground anymore.

The second part is what we are seeing in Congress this week.  The AHCA is a terrible, terrible bill designed to immiserate millions of Americans in order to reduce taxes on the rich.  But the GOP has to do it, because they've come to believe that ACA is the "worst thing since slavery."  We heard some dingbat from Texas compare Obamacare to a tumor that had to be cut out.  Which is a shame, because since Texas didn't expand Medicaid, it probably can't afford to have the surgery.

When you shut yourself off from objective reality, you write horrible laws like AHCA.  You then deny the CBO score.  And the verdicts of the AMA, the hospitals and the insurance companies and pretty much anyone who disagrees with you.

This is where we are. That's more terrifying than any individual policy or tweet or vote or even Supreme Court nominee.  The very idea of liberal republican government - America's original idea - is teetering on the precipice of a Breitbart-fueled tempestuous sea, because the idea of political competition via free and fair elections based on the positions of the candidates....that's seeming quaint right about now.

Absent an agreed upon objective truth, democracy in America cannot work.

In the weeks and months to come, the following will most likely happen: the AHCA will die - either tomorrow or in the Senate; the GOP will find a way to cut taxes for the rich; the investigations into the election will continue.

If AHCA dies in the House, it will be because it is too generous to the poor, but if it dies in the Senate, it will be because it's a shitty bill and the margin for error in the Senate is too small.  Plus, you can't gerrymander a state, so a Senator has to worry about the center as well as her right flank.

The ultimate fate of the AHCA is secondary, in some ways, from the GOP mania to reduce the tax burden on the rich.  The Trump administration is already accommodating the desire of big business to reduce regulations everywhere.

Once they get their tax cuts, you can make a case that the GOP Congress will no longer need Trump, and if the investigations proceed to uncover even worse allegations, they could rupture with Trump out of self-preservation (if not love of country).

Last Monday's questioning by GOP members of Congress was not encouraging on that score.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Trump is entirely about winning.  He has to win.  Because if you don't win, you lose.  And Trump is not a loser.  NOT.  A.  LOSER!

This is basically his pitch to the GOP House: Vote for this so you (and I) aren't losers.  The fact that it is a shitty bill that will make life shitty for people who voted for them apparently has no impact on their thinking.

I'm REALLY torn about this.  I don't want to see 20+ million Americans lose their health insurance, and I don't want a bill that will be hard for the next Democratic government to undo.

But it would be nice to see them completely screw themselves over by pursuing the lie they've been telling their base for the past 8 years.

That would be fitting.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Stupid Or Cruel?

Ultimately that becomes the question to every policy utterance from Cheetoh Benito.  His health care bill?  Does he understand it and is simply lying? Or does he simply not understand it?  Apparently health care is complicated, who could have known?  But does he have even the barest of knowledge about this plan?

One of the small stories that has leaked out during the Hundred Daze is that Trump really isn't a reader.  As in, he doesn't read.  If it's not in a bullet point, he's not reading it.  Trump's father sent him to the New York Military Academy, at least in part because he had an undiagnosed learning disability.  Attention deficit, probably linked to a reading based learning disability.  Because Trump inherited a lot of money and has never had to personally develop coping skills for his LD issues, he simply glided by, while his attorneys handled the details.

Obama famously said that no easy problems reach the Oval Office.  If the problem were easy, it would have been solved before it got to the White House.  Difficult problems require sophisticated, nuanced thinking.  Trump's inability to see nuance or embrace subtlety is directly linked to his ignorance.

So, again, when we look at the Festival of Cruelty that is the Trump budget, we have to ask: Is he stupid or cruel?  Look, we know Steve Bannon is cruel, and we can be reasonably certain that Trump was not involved with crafting the details of this budget.  So, let's assume that this budget is the product of the Breitbart Boys who surround Trump.  Let's also assume that Trump - the living embodiment of a Yahoo! comment thread - is OK with the broad rhetoric of the Right that would cut all the various programs that he wants to cut.

What Trump hasn't realized is the very real difference between the rhetoric of "cut wasteful spending" and the reality that this "wasteful spending" is quite important in people's lives and they don't want to see it cut.  Republicans in Congress are savvy enough to know the difference between their campaign rhetoric and the reality that many programs are popular.  Big Bird has beaten back more competent foes than Donald Trump.

And so we come back to the original question: Are Donald Trump's policies a product of his cruelty or his stupidity?

And which answer terrifies you more?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The View From Abroad

There is one area that the President of the United States has great constitutional authority and that is in foreign affairs.  That is because the office was designed to speak as one voice for the American people.  Declarations of war were supposed to be run through Congress, so the people could voice their preference, but foreign policy and the military are the province of the President.

The damage that Trump is doing and will continue to do as commander in chief will be hard to calculate.  In the past week he has insulted the British and the Germans and his Secretary of State has threatened war on the Korean Peninsula.

The "global north" (Europe, Japan and other developed economies) have long marveled at the whipsaw nature of our politics.  Most of those countries reside comfortably to the left of America's center, and so they are naturally more sympathetic to Democrats than Republicans.  But Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were also more committed to the idea of collective security than were George W. Bush and now, obviously, Orange Julius.  Collective security was an American idea, with roots in Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson's ideas of the New Model Treaty.  It was articulated by Woodrow Wilson and implemented by FDR.  There was always a strain of American conservatism that rebelled against it, but important figures from Eisenhower to Nixon to HW Bush all pushed back in important ways against the "America First" mentality.

Even W Bush worked within the pretext of global institutions, as his "Coalition of the Willing" suggested.  Most people saw right through that, but at least he nodded in that direction.

Der Gropenfuhrer - who is most accurately described as the comment section come to life - is intent as a matter of policy to destroy the post World War II order.  Some of this will be done intentionally.  Some of it will be done by his own rank incompetence.

For the first time ever, the rest of the world looks at America not with alarm, but with real fear.

That won't end well for us.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


I'm siting upstairs at my parent's house, listening to my dad's physical therapist talk about the basic issue with social programs: the perception of free riders.

All it takes is for people to know one "welfare cheat" to discredit an entire philosophy of government.  If you know that Cleetus down the road is able but taking a gubmint check he doesn't deserve, it's hard to support social welfare program.

Of course, this is a flaw that leads to poor and working class whites to vote for a party that pretty much only gives a shit about tax cuts for the rich.  Trump's budget is a statement of GOP priorities that stretch back to Reagan and his more fervent acolytes.  It basically ends social programs across the board, including as much regulatory protection as is possible.

It's a Gilded Age document for a man who never found anything he couldn't throw a coat of gold paint on.

The debate of health care is essentially the debate over the role of government, but it that debate made real for millions of people who believe Cleetus down the road invalidates the idea of social spending.  The problem the GOP has run into time and time again is that social spending is pretty damned popular with the people who benefit from it.  Social Security, Medicare, ACA/Medicaid, public schools, public health...people like this stuff.  They made loath Cleetus down the road, but they still want what THEY get out of it.

This is currently a fundamental problem for the GOP as they try and gut Obamacare.  There are too many people who benefit from ACA that voted for Trump.  Shit, Trump basically admitted as much in his interview with Tucker Carlson.  If - with full control of government - they pass their preferred policies, they will hurt people - physically as well as fiscally - in order to lavish tax cuts on the rich.  My guess is that will leave to a Democratic wave in 2018 or 2020.

But as soon as you have a Democratic government, you are going to face this same, fundamental Cleetus down the road problem.  How do you sell an agenda of greater economic equality that doesn't somehow reward Cleetus down the road?  Because as soon as the perception is that Cleetus down the road is benefiting in ways that I'm've lost a ton of support.

This is one powerful argument with universals social programs, be it health care, public education or Social Security.  Social Security is popular because it's universal.  ACA is unpopular because it's not.  Preserving ACA is important, because it creates a baseline for President Gillibrand to move closer to universal single payer in 2021.  Whether or not America can embrace a universal basic income is a real question, because it would seem to hold promise for addressing so much of the rampant inequality that has created our fracture polity.

You don't get Trump without 2008.  You don't get 2008 without Bush's deregulation craze.  You also don't get Obama without 2008.  The GOP benefits from the perception that government is broken and doesn't work for anyone but Cleetus down the road.

Democrats have to fix that before they get their hands on power again.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Things Paul Ryan Doesn't Understand

1) How insurance works.

2) What ancient history is.

I Hate Trump For Making Me Conspiratorial

I'm not overly fond of conspiracy theories, but the idea that Trump leaked his own taxes seems pretty plausible.  Whoever leaked it had access to Trump's copy.  The form leaked tells us very little about what we need to know about his financial ties.  It was from one year that could easily have been cherry-picked.  In 2004-5, we were really hitting the housing bubble's expansion.  So if Trump DIDN'T make money in those years, he's an even bigger fraud than I thought.

This feels very much like Maddow got played.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I Drop Off The Web For One Day

And it turns out my refrigerator was spying on me and also judging me for that late night brie.

Monday, March 13, 2017

My Biggest Error

I did not think the Comey letter was as big a deal as it really was.

Ruh Roh

Steve King once again has let the voice inside his head come outside his head.

Of course, Steve King will see no negative effect from this, because Iowans are friendly, welcoming people, unless you're one of THOSE people.  And by THOSE people, I mean people that Iowans haven't met.

King is and has been an embarrassment, just as Louie Gohmert is and Michelle Bachmann was.

My prayer is that we can generate a wave election strong enough to erase that racists MoFo from the halls of Congress once and for all.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bookmark This Stuff

Here is my prediction. Trump will coast along on the Obama recovery for awhile.  But there is a stock market bubble brewing.  It was brewing a little under Obama, but it is wildly inflating itself now.  Bubbles seem to burst in the fall, but will it be 2017, 2018 or 2019?  If the border tax or the Ryancare goes through, we will see inflation in the first case with a loss of real wages in the second.  Obamacare was one of the greatest redistributions of wealth downward since the Great Society.  Remove that from 15 million Americans, and the money they are currently spending on consumer goods gets redirected towards health care.

Basically, if the GOP repeals Obamacare (doubtful but hardly impossible), adds a border tax (likely at this point) and allows Wall Street to run amok (happening), then we can expect the economy to crash again in some way.

When that happens (if it happens), the Republican response is already in the can and ready to go: Donald Trump was not a True Conservative.  He was a Democrat once, they will say.  He was an outsider, they will say.

Stories like this need to be filed away to be trotted out in 2018 and 2020.  Complete and utter nonsense like this need be played on a loop.

A cynic would say it won't matter.  People have so cemented themselves into their partisan identities that they won't budge.  But an economic crunch or the loss of health insurance is not something you can spin away as the "lying media" or the "coastal elites."

The Democrats need to keep their fingerprints off the AHCA shit-sandwich, precisely so they can hang its failures around the GOP.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Real America

I don't intend this as a "point and stare" exercise, but this story of a KKK leader who was killed by his mentally ill wife is a bit too salacious to pass by unremarked upon.  In it, you can find all the pathologies of rural America that led to them following a two-bit New York con artist down the Primrose Path.  Poor prospects, drug addiction, undiagnosed mental illness...It's Faulkner for the 21st century, a dark gothic stew of resentments, anger and helplessness.

If the principles in this story were minority, I'd have more sympathy for them.  And that is something I need to work on.  Admittedly, being a KKK leader is not a sympathetic stance, so I feel no compelling need to sympathize with the late Mr. Ancona.  There is a justifiable stance that the accrued treatment of minorities deserves more sympathy.  But people like Ancona's have seen no benefit from their whiteness, which is probably why he gravitated towards an ideology that makes him superior based on the one attribute he has in his favor - his skin color.  And I would not sympathize with characters in this tragedy if they were radical black nationalists either.

This is the challenge of Trumpistan.  How do we reach people like the Anconas to let them know that Donald Trump doesn't give a shit about them?  That the Republican party doesn't give a shit about them?  My wife and I were discussing whether it's in the mercenary interest of the Democrats to let the AHCA pass in order to force these older, rural white people to realize how the Republican party is basically interested in nursing your grievances so they can give more money to the rich.

Ancona was a racist.  His racism had to be rooted in some ways in the shitty circumstances of his life.  His shitty circumstances were caused in part by a system that rewards the top 1% out of all proportion to their contributions.  Trump told them he shared their anger.  He lied, which is what he does.  But people like Ancona wanted to believe in those lies so much.

How do you communicate with people who speak such a foreign tongue?

Friday, March 10, 2017


One thing the GOP has been very good at over the years is packaging terrible, regressive policies in good politics.  Trumpism is kind of part and parcel of this.  This is how you convince your voters to stick with you, even when your policies suck.

The Shit Sandwich Health Bill is amazing because of its truly awful politics.  Here is a great example: The SSHB will hurt older voters and benefit younger voters.  I can imagine Paul Ryan sitting around with his acolytes and saying, "Hey!  We can wean those young voters away from the Democrats by giving them better terms in health care!"  This fundamentally misreads Millennial voters.  They care about LGBT rights.  They care about the environment.  They like multiculturalism. They are not fond of the 1%.

The GOP lost those voters on social issues and economic philosophy.  Giving them a little bit extra cash just isn't going to move the needle much.

And it will enrage the very demographic that has maintained the GOP majorities in Congress.

Face Meet Palm

I spent most of the day following the NFL Free Agent Frenzy and attending meetings for work.  As a result, I didn't have to follow the news.  The shitty, shitty news.

One thing that has manifested itself over the ACA repeal debacle is that Republicans have no freaking idea how insurance works.  This, needless to say, presents an impediment to designing a replacement to the ACA.  Self-aware people would work to overcome this.  There is little evidence that GOP Members of Congress are self-aware.

Not only do they not understand how insurance works, they also aren't clear on racism or governance.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

They're Just Trolling Us Now

The CIA is - to a certain degree - going after Trump and his Russian connections.

Wikileaks - which has clear ties to Putin's Russia - just released a bunch of damaging information from the CIA.

Trump confidante Nigel Farage just met with Julian Assange.

Trump always sees things through the lens of "winning" in any given moment.  Obama always played the long game, which made him sneakily effective.  Obama disdained the 24 hour news cycle; Trump lives and breathes it.

If there is ANY connection between Trump's people and the CIA/Wikileaks thing...How is that not impeachable?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Seems Like A Good Idea

Sebastian Mallaby (is that his real name?) suggests that the Federal Reserve should pour some icy cold water on the stock market.  His logic is that recent recessions have been caused by speculative bubbles (true) created by cheap money monetary policy (true).  The past arguments for raising rates was to head off inflation.  Inflation is kept low currently because globalism keeps both wages and prices low.  I would add cheap energy as a leading cause of low inflation, too.

Raising rates sharply to retard Wall Street from rampant borrowing would burst the bubble before it inflated large enough to give us another 2007.  That's the economics of it.

The politics of it is that Trump hates elites and they could trigger an attack on the Fed similar to his attacks on the Courts. Popping the bubble will entail things that could slow wages and lending for ordinary Americans.  Letting the bubble grow to 2007 sizes would create a political crisis that could lead to more Trump or a Sanders-type figure on the Left.  Basically, it courts instability in a system that is already unstable.

Or, more likely, the Fed raises rates by a full point, the market corrects and we go back to watching Trumpelthinskin's twitter feed for stock tips.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Paul Ryan - Serious Policy Thinker - Shows His Ass

Seven years.  Ryan and the GOP "Thought Leaders" have had seven years to come up with a replacement plan for ACA.  And this was the best they could come up with?  The new GOP plan takes away the structures that make ACA work, like mandates, because freedom.  They take away the money that makes ACA work, like taxes on the wealthy, because freedom.  They take away the restrictions on insurance company CEO pay, because freedom.  They take away funding for Planned Parenthood, because sluts.

This is a perfect shitburger of a plan.  As Krugman and other note, it has enough of the aspects of ACA to drive conservatives bonkers, while gutting important structures to drive wonks to distraction, while ending guarantees to the poor to enrage liberals.  Unlike full repeal, which would kick about 20M Americans off health insurance, this plan will likely only drop 15M.  Who said the GOP were heartless bastards?  This is a plan that will help people who have money but don't want expensive individual plans.  It will do almost nothing for the poor and working poor.  At this point, we need to realize this is a feature, not a bug.

At the moment, the following Republican Senators have cold feet.  Rob Portman, Corey Gardner, Lisa Murkowski and Shelley Moore Capito object to the cuts in Medicaid (along with most GOP governors who've taken the Medicaid expansion).  Rand Paul, Tom Cotton and Mike Lee object to the tax cuts for the rich.  Susan Collins objects to the cuts to Planned Parenthood.  Only three of those have to continue to hold out against changes, and this is a dead letter.  My guess is that Collins, Murkowski and Portman are the most likely to hang tough, but Gardner has a tough re-election ahead of him in 2020.

This presumes that the bill even gets out of the House, where hardline conservatives object to the government helping ANYONE get health insurance.  Only 23 GOP hardliners would be needed to kill the bill in the House, and there are close to a hundred who object at the moment.

Of course, relying on the principled independence of GOP members of Congress is a fool's game.

Ryan's strategy is apparently to rush the bill through without a CBO score or adequate hearings.  This, you may remember, was the GOP charge against Obamacare: that it was rushed through with unseemly haste.  Those of us with functioning memories recall that it took over a year, was scored by the CBO and debated vigorously in both chambers. But once again, the GOP's alternate history takes precedence.

I said somewhere that the two defining psychological characteristics of the GOP were a stunning lack of empathy and a strong predilection for projection.  This covers both.  It strips health insurance from people who need it, in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich.  And the method of passing it is intended to harken back to the ACA passage that never happened.  They are retroactively projecting their own tactics on Obama that they have used under Tom Delay and now are seeming to use again under Paul Ryan.

As Krugman concludes above, the GOP is simply unable to come up with functional policy on any number of fronts.  Even their good ideas wind up sucking before they are through with them.

This is because on a fundamental level, the GOP does not believe in governance.  Or rather they don't believe in the social contract that makes governance possible.  They want to strip the state of its ability to help all of us and turn it into a mechanism for helping the rich.  View Paul Ryan through that lens and everything makes more sense.  In becoming right wing anarchists, the GOP has lost the ability to craft policy.

They have also slowly degenerated into a party that rejects empirical truth.  We saw glimmers of this under Dubya ("We create our own reality.") but as they became an opposition party to Obama, they slowly lost whatever moorings they had in facts.  Once opposing Obama became, well, everything to them, they necessarily had to oppose the facts that he embraced or the new terrain his policies illuminated.  In the fact-free world of the GOP, Obamacare and Social Security are causing the deficit and creating death panels.  The reality of 20M people on health insurance at lower than expected costs is simply impossible, so you have to kill it.  Why?  Because you have to.

The Republican party is bound by chains to a failed ideology of laissez faire capitalism that is insufficient to the modern world.  They can't escape it, but being in opposition meant they didn't have to reckon with it.  Trump embraces all the fact free aspects of their world, without the ideological pillars supporting him.  He embraces their delusions while injecting capriciousness into their process.

This was entirely predictable, not that this brings any comfort.

Monday, March 6, 2017

These People Are Morons

I mean, I suppose they could simply be unbelievably evil, but I really think stupid is the best way to describe this.

Donald Trump is only president because James Comey broke every norm and tradition when he released that latter the week before the election.  That was enough to tip a few more Republican leaning votes in the Blue Wall of the Rust Belt and throw the election to Trumpelthinskin.  A lot has been written about how Trump has to dominate and win every encounter.  He is the living embodiment of the Ricky Bobby Principle.  This is why he was pissed that Forrest Gump Jeff Sessions recused himself - never admit defeat!

There is another aspect of Trump that applies more broadly to the GOP, but can apply to all of us, I guess, and that's projection.  If you are especially lacking in empathy, you are unable to see things from another person's perspectives.  Lack of empathy is the defining characteristic of today's Republican party.  Therefore, when you look at other people's actions, you can really only ascribe your own motivations.  Other people's motivations are simply alien to you.

This is why Obamacare was a sinister effort to completely remake American society, rather than subsidized private health insurance.  Because if the Teanderthals get control of the levers of power, they will undertake a sinister effort to completely remake American society.  The Right is unbelievably ideological - though the far Left is, too. The liberal center is much more pragmatic; pragmatism was a defining element of Obama's presidency.  But if all you know is ideology, that's what you see in others.

Trump is slightly different, but the model of projection is still very much in play. Trump tapped his employees phones; he will do or say anything that accrues him an advantage from moment to moment; he sees the world through the lens of his own image.  And that is how he sees others.

Does Trump believe Obama tapped his phone?  Probably, because Trump would've done that himself.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Was Trump Tapped?

Almost certainly, no.

The Washington Post lays out the claims and their possible sources in this article.  It sounds like the FBI was investigating cash transfers from Russia to either the Trump campaign or people associated with the Trump campaign.  They asked the FISA court for a warrant twice before they were approved.

There is, as everyone knows by now, zero evidence of Obama tapping Trump's phone for political purposes.  What is most obviously missing from this account is Obama actually, you know, using the information from Trump's phone to influence the election.  (More's the pity...)  The rather conspicuous absence of the USE of any phone taps in October is a pretty glaring example that Trump is lying.

What we also know is that intelligence fears about Trumpelthinskin's Russian connections have continued to grow through November.  Put another way: What did the FBI find out when they may or may not have searched Trump's bank records or bank server?

It would be deliciously funny if Trump's call for an investigation means that the FBI can openly reveal what they have currently been slowly leaking.

"Why, yes, we did conduct a search of Trump's finances, and we found large payments from a Russian bank, that appear to be in violation of US campaign finance laws."


Please Proceed, Trumpelthinskin

Andy Borowitz incisively laid down how Trump gets his news.  It works something like this:
1) Trump has a paranoid idea.
2) Trump shares that idea with Steve Bannon.
3) Bannon shares that idea with Breitbart.
4) Breitbart publishes a story on the paranoid idea.
5) Trump reads the story and exclaims, "I knew it!"

This is how we get Twittler firing off baseless allegations that Obama wiretapped his phones.  We do have some evidence that the FBI/NSA may have tapped the phones of some of his more Russophilic advisers, such as Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.  This was done as part of the investigation of the Russian hacking of the DNC, as there were very, very worrying signs that some in the Trump campaign were involved, even after the fact, in these hacks.  For instance, right before every Wikileaks dump, guys like Roger Stone would prime the press for the revelations.

Trump has now, amazingly, called for an investigation into whether Obama ordered Trump's phones tapped.  Obama has denied this, former DNI James Clapper has denied this, your "senior US official" said no wiretaps took place.  Again, presumably this is solely tapping Trump's phone, as there is some pretty good evidence that his aides were subject to FISA court approved surveillance.  By October, both Manafort and, I think, Stone were no longer with the campaign, so that would be significant, too.

But Trump's call for an investigation has to be making Congressional Republicans uncomfortable.  If they launch an investigation solely into Obama tapping Trump's phones, without investigating Trump's many ties to Russia... I mean there has to be a limit to the hypocrisy even of odious human toadstools like Jason Chaffetz.  At townhalls, when constituents have called for investigations, the lame response has been, "You people just want to investigate every little thing."  That line of defense becomes untenable, even for the most morally flexible members of Congress.

The options are obviously limited now.  They can ignore the call for investigations, putting them at odds with their president.  Perhaps they could simply ask the FBI/FISA court to provide any information and then take their word on it without following up. However, Trump's psychology is about "dominance" and "winning."  Sweeping this under the rug would be a personal insult to him.

They could launch a narrow investigation into Obama, but again, how do you pull that off with a straight face?

Or, perhaps there are MoC who think that Trump is a terrible embarrassment but don't want to be the first (OK, aside from Lindsay Graham) to call for an overarching investigation to the entire election and Russia's involvement therein.  For them, Trump just gave them cover to launch exactly the investigation that Democrats and third parties have been calling for.

I've felt that GOP MoC who care about their jobs and their majority should try ripping the band aid off when it comes to Trump.  He's manifestly unfit for office and corrupt as shit.  They are married to this guy, because they fear his voters.  But if he himself called for an investigation, and it exposes real and tangible wrong doing, they can possibly save their majorities in 2018, but not if they wait too long.

Meanwhile, this does seem like a perfect opportunity for the Democratic leadership in Congress to screw this up somehow.

UPDATE: Balloon Juice has aggregated the best of Twitter here, here and here.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Pretty Much This

An incisive takedown of the Jacobin Left.  I would disagree that they author's "alt-left" is a problem, because it is largely powerless, unlike the alt-right.  But it is certainly a problem in efforts to fight the worst of Trumpistan.  The idea that anyone with leftist impulses could join "Cult 45" is mind-boggling.  But if you are wedded to the idea of revolution, then it doesn't matter who starts the shooting.

And as I've said many times before, revolutions fail.

Thud Thud Thud

Don't tell me the guys and gals in the intel "community" and the press don't know how to work the long knives.  Dumping everything they know at once would create a cacophony of charges and countercharges.  Chaos.

Instead they are timing the revelations to drop at intervals.  Some of this may be beyond their planning, too, as various actors in the drama flip or come forward.  It looks like TPM may have a scoop about a Trump ally pressuring the RNC to soften language on Ukraine.  Twitler was loose this morning, talking wildly about Schumer having met Putin and Pelosi and Obama having met Putin and why won't the press investigate them.  This is Trump as his most WATB.

The issue is not "Have you ever spoke to Russians."  We know that people speak to Russians as part of their job.  Maybe Jeff Sessions did speak to the Russian ambassador as part of his job as Senator.  If so, why didn't he admit as much in his testimony?  If he later discovered that he had forgotten about the meeting, he could amend that testimony.  Why not?

This is where the "Cover up is worse than the crime" fits in somewhat.  It is not, in fact, that the cover up is worse.  The cover up is merely the sign that the crime likely exists.  People don't cover up innocent behavior.  I went to a jazz concert last night; it was great.  I'm not going to lie about that.  If I went to the concert and shot the musician...yeah, I might lie about that.

Trump lies so casually and so frequently, that he can't even discern the difference between a substantive lie and a mistake or an innocent omission.  He can't differentiate between Chuck Schumer having a doughnut with Putin in 2003 and members of his campaign having back channel discussions with the Russians while formulating plans to help Russia.  Trump's reflexive mendacity has rendered him incapable of basic distinctions like that.

Josh Marshall has been "studying" Trump for years now, and he has put forward the most innocent explanation that gibes with the currently known facts.  Basically, Trump did a lot of business with Russians, because no American banks would lend to him, because he's a shitty business who goes into bankruptcy the way my son changes his underwear - every week whether he needs to or not.  Trump's reflex is that whatever is good for Trump is good for everything and everyone. Therefore, Russia is good.  In this interpretation, Trump is fawning over Russia, because he thinks Russia is good and that leads to policies that Putin would prefer. The lack of critical thinking about Russia is, of course, terrifying, but let's leave that aside for now.  After noting that more information could change this interpretation into something more sinister, Marshall concludes with this:

Here's the big final point. Let's assume some version of my narrative above is accurate. On its face its mainly about bad priorities and bad values. But anyone trying to make this chain of events happen in real life - not just Trump but his various business associates, hangers-on and supporters - would have a very difficult time not committing a large number of bad acts in the process. Maybe very bad acts. It may not be inherent in the storyline. But it's just the way that world works, especially when you have a principal who has a vast ability to justify what satisfies his self-interest, his desires, his need to dominate and be right. As we've already seen, even the fairly innocent stuff is hard not to lie about. Eventually that will get someone in trouble. There's too much dirty money, too many things that may be narrowly legal but need to be lied about, too many scams and bad actors.

And that would explain the lying about any and all meetings with the Russians.  My worry is that Marshall is right and when it turns out that Trump stumbled into bad decisions because of his ineffable Trumpness, the press and public will be disappointed that it isn't MORE sinister.  Trump and his people did illegal, immoral and poorly thought out things that would disqualify anyone else from being president.  But just a Trump managed not to tweet out insults in the middle of his Congressional address last week and get praised for that, so too would Marshall's theory produce a shrug in the face of very real and damaging revelations.

However, the shoes are going to keep dropping.  The revelations will keep coming.  And as last night showed, Trump will enter his Orangenrage and start hate tweeting in the wee hours of the morning.

He couldn't help himself with Russia and he can't help himself now.

Friday, March 3, 2017

How Long Can They Hold Out?

The GOP - at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue - needs to find its breaking point on investigating the foul smell coming from their own nest.  At what point will GOP members of Congress (besides Lindsey Graham) finally decide to call for a special prosecutor?

We have seen since 2008 that the GOP is primarily concerned with the GOP.  Their policy prescriptions come pre-packaged from ALEC, the Heritage Institute and various other Koch sucking entities.  These policy prescriptions have little to no relevance to actual problems facing the country and the world.  Hence the ongoing chaos of their efforts to repeal Obamacare.  Under the guidance of a 21st century John C. Calhoun in Mitch McConnell, the GOP has become the party of nullification, but that is insufficient to actually running the government.

So their policy agenda is in tatters, besides regulatory rollback within the executive branch.  Their president is at the nexus of swirling and persistent rumors of illegal and unethical behavior with fucking Russia of all places.  They can't hold a town hall without getting yelled at.

Self preservation would argue for distancing themselves from Trump.  One of McConnell's insights was that the public at large doesn't pay attention to details, they simply hold the president and his party accountable for everything.

At what point does the GOP throw Trump overboard?  Or are they willing to go down with this very leaky ship?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Game Is Afoot

The old saw - "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up" - is only partly true, as Josh Marshall notes. What the cover-up shows is the presence of a crime, or at least guilty as hell behavior.  Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III's behavior stinks of a cover-up.  Why did he lie about meeting with Russian Ambassador Kislyak?  If he made an honest mistake, because he - apparently - meets with ambassadors all the time, then why didn't Flynn's troubles with meeting Kislyak trigger a memory and lead Sessions to revise his testimony?

There is the obvious hypocrisy factor about Sessions being a vigorous proponent of removing Bill Clinton from office for perjury.  Clinton's lies were obviously categorically different, which is why few people outside of the hard right were eager to pursue the impeachment.  Lying about blow jobs is simply not the same as lying about meeting the Russian ambassador within the context of a tremendous amount scrutiny over the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. The whole reason Sessions was asked the question is because there are legitimate questions about those connections.  Sessions either knew such questions existed or he is too stupid to be attorney general.

The single greatest worry I've had in the first few months of Trumpistan is whether the Congress would do reasonable oversight.  Currently, some GOP leaders are edging towards asking Sessions to recuse himself, whereas others are outright excusing the behavior.  Simply put, the GOP Congress is entirely in the fucking bag for Trump right now, because they are tied to him with chains.  Ironically, their best hope is to launch a sustained and vigorous investigation now and hope they resolve it before the midterms. The longer this drags out, the more it creeps into their own re-election plans.

So far, only Lindsey Graham is covering himself in any laurels here, in that he is the only one among the GOP calling for a special prosecutor.  I have very little confidence in the ability of the GOP Congress to appoint an impartial, competent special prosecutor, but as Dan Rather wrote this morning, there is only so far that the press can go with leaks.  At some point, you need subpoena power.

Trump picked fights with the intelligence community and the press: the group that knows where the bodies are buried and the group with all the good shovels.  The longer this goes, the worse it will get for him.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Things I Hate About Trumpistan

1) He gives a speech where he doesn't suddenly start yelling at people or lighting the podium on fire and there are those who will praise it.  The fact that he managed to praise a Gold Star widow rather than insult her is a remarkably low bar to clear.

2) It makes me agree with people like Michael Gerson.